By Sherine El Madany / Reuters
CAIRO: Egyptian activist Mohamed ElBaradei said Hosni Mubarak’s appointment of a vice president and a new prime minister was useless and he had not listened to the will of thousands of people calling for 30-year-rule to end.
The 82-year-old president picked intelligence chief Omar Suleiman for vice president, the first time he has given someone the position. He also named a former air force commander and aviation minister, Ahmed Shafiq, as prime minister.
“Hosni Mubarak has not heard the people,” said ElBaradei, 68, who has suggested he might run for president if democratic and constitutional change was implemented, describing the appointments as “useless” to Al Jazeera television.
“This is a mere change of people, and we are talking about a change of regime. The Egyptian people are saying one word: ‘The Egyptian president has to leave’.”
The former head of the UN nuclear watchdog called for forming a transitional government to set up fair elections during the telephone interview with the channel.
Protests demanding Mubarak quit raged across Egypt for a fifth day on Saturday.
The United States told Mubarak it was not enough to simply “reshuffle the deck” with a shake-up of his government and pressed him to make good on his promise of genuine reform.
ElBaradei echoed similar concerns, saying: “Any attempt to cover up the public demands will lead to bigger deterioration in Egypt’s security situation, and I hold President Mubarak entirely responsible.”
“The presidency has to be elected by the people. And as long as the regime does not understand that it is time it left and we want a new regime, Egypt will collapse.”