By Heba Fahmy
CAIRO: Former IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he would run in the coming presidential elections, in a meeting with members of the National Association for Change (NAC) and the campaign supporting him at his Cairo home late Monday.
Mostafa Al-Naggar, general coordinator of the campaign supporting ElBaradei, told Daily News Egypt that the official announcement will be made in a press conference soon.
ElBaradei said that it would be an honor to serve the Egyptian people and participate in the reform of the “country’s administrative structure” and establish a true political system, according to the campaign’s website on Monday.
The campaign’s media coordinator, Mahmoud Hatta, said on the website that he will launch a massive campaign to counter the accusations made by the former regime against ElBaradei,.
“ElBaradei is the one public figure who was most subjected to smear campaigns by the former regime,” Al-Naggar told DNE. “But we will launch a counter campaign to correct these misconceptions and convey ElBaradei’s true image.”
Al-Naggar added that these false accusations include ElBaradei’s alleged call for scrapping Article 2 of the constitution to change Egypt into a civil state and falsely accusing him of being the reason behind the US invasion of Iraq while he was heading the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
“These are all false accusations,” Al-Naggar stressed.
Article 2 of Egypt’s constitution states that Islam is the religion of the state and that Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation.
Egypt’s Christian community, which comprises 6 to 10 percent of the population, and rights activists are calling for scrapping Article 2 which they see as an obstacle to Egypt’s transition to a civil state. Many Muslims oppose the suggestion.
Hatta told DNE that the campaign will begin with the “million-pamphlet project” introducing ElBaradei and arguing why he should be the next president. It will also address the accusations made against him. The campaign will start with issuing and distributing 200,000 such pamphlets.
ElBaradei’s support campaign will then launch a “thousand-convoy project.”
“Each convoy will include three youths from ElBaradei’s campaign,” Hatta said. “They will interact with the people and explain ElBaradei’s political program and why he would be the best president for Egypt.”
He added that the two projects will be launched across Egypt in the near future. “Our campaign [to support ElBaradei] exists in more than 15 governorates around Egypt,” Hatta said.
At the meeting Al-Naggar said that ElBaradei’s presidential campaign will be the largest campaign known in Egypt’s modern history “because we have hundreds of thousands of devoted volunteers willing to support ElBaradei as the next president.”
“The campaign would also initiate a large number of alliances with powers that are willing to cooperate with the campaign in order to serve the country’s best interests,” Al-Naggar added.
Al-Naggar told DNE that the campaign has started by opening its doors to volunteers and already tens of thousands have applied.