CAIRO: The leftist Tagammu Party said it has not pitched its support behind Mohamed ElBaradei’s reform attempts because of concerns regarding his economic policy and position on Israel.
The Tagammu was one of three major opposition parties which did not meet with ElBaradei during his visit to Cairo and did not sign up to the newly-formed National Coalition for Change, which groups various opposition movements under the leadership of the former IAEA chief.
Member of the party’s general secretariat and its secretary general in North Sinai Ashraf El-Hefny told Daily News Egypt, “There is no initial rejection of ElBaradei, but we will not sign on an empty paper; we want to know his position towards Israel and privatization.
“It can’t just be about replacing [President Hosni] Mubarak with someone else with no change [in policy], he added.
El-Hefny, however, denied a report published in Rose Al-Youssef newspaper Tuesday regarding an internal memo sent out to members of the party indicating that ElBaradei’s ideas were a danger to Egypt, and that he had not spelled out his position on many issues.
However, one thing the Tagammu party agreed on with ElBaradei was a call for a change in the constitution, especially Articles 76 and 77 that govern the eligibility of any presidential candidate. This, however, did not mean that they would necessarily cooperate on that.
In fact the Tagammu party, along with Al-Wafd, the Nasserist and Democratic Front parties, announced the holding of a conference this month to discuss calls for constitutional reform, an announcement that was made soon after ElBaradei’s formation of the National Coalition for Change.
The Tagammu, Wafd and Nasserist parties had not participated in the meeting between ElBaradei and opposition movements, leading some to speculate that were trying to avoid provoking the regime ahead of the legislative elections taking place later this year.
However, El-Hefny reacted furiously to this, saying, “We are not afraid of the government and I object to this attitude by the liberal movement that if you are not with them then you are a traitor.
ElBaradei has created a stir since comments he made that he would be willing to run in the presidential elections of 2011 provided there were guarantees of a fair election and amendments to the constitution.
On Monday, he released his first statement, in which he listed seven demands that the National Coalition for Change were calling for, including the amendments, judicial oversight of elections and the immediate lifting of the emergency law. He also called for limiting the Egyptian presidency to two terms.
However, leftist and nationalist parties claim they are still waiting for clearer views from ElBaradei regarding his position on Israel and his economic policies.
“He doesn’t speak for all political movements, El-Hefny said, “and what has he given Egypt, he hasn’t offered an hour of struggle for Egypt as of yet. We shouldn’t put people on a pedestal until we see what they will do.