CAIRO: Both President Hosni Mubarak and his son Gamal have spoken recently about the emergence of former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei as a potential political opponent.
Mubarak was in Germany for medical tests and was asked about whether he considered ElBaradei a national hero, to which he responded that Egypt “does not need a new hero.
He added that ElBaradei was welcome to join a party to become a presidential candidate or run as an independent, but must adhere to the constitution.
“If he wants to join a party, he could choose whichever one he wants, Mubarak told reporters during a visit to Germany, reported AP. “If he wants to be a candidate for that party [at the presidential elections], he could do that. If he wants to stand as an independent candidate, he could do that, he said.
“The only thing is that he must respect the constitution, he said,
It is the constitution that ElBaradei is trying to change, claiming that it unfairly impedes most candidates from being eligible for a presidential election. Currently the constitution stipulates that any viable candidate must be either in a party that has existed for five years or secure a certain amount of signatures from both houses and the municipalities to run as an independent.
On Thursday protestors stood outside the Judicial Administrative Court in Alexandria as the court inside heard the appeal of the Ayez Haqy (I Want My Rights) movement against the refusal of government bureaus to allow them to give power of attorney to ElBaradei to call for constitutional change.
The court delayed the hearing to April 15.
Head of the policies committee of the ruling National Democratic Party Gamal Mubarak said during a meeting with students at Luxor University that political life should be based on parties more than any independent candidate.
Gamal said, “Talk of change by reforming education, health and the economy are just general statement, more important is to get into the details of how to implement it.
Asked about lack of judicial oversight on elections, no longer mandatory due to the amendment of Article 88 of the constitution, Gamal said, “Don’t forget that every candidate has the right to have representatives inside the poll stations, in addition to the monitoring of Egyptian civil society.
ElBaradei has caused a stir in Egyptian politics by calling for constitutional change and alluding that he might consider a presidential bid if conditions were right. He has also formed the National Association for Change with a coalition of opposition movements including the Muslim Brotherhood.
As an independent, ElBaradei would need the backing of at least 250 elected officials from parliament’s upper and lower houses and from municipal councils – all bodies dominated by Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. -Additional reporting by AP.