ElBaradei to Run for President of Egypt

Will Support for IAEA Chief Sweep Him Into Office?

Former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei has confirmed today in comments to the Daily Telegraph that he intends to run for election as the next president of Egypt, whenever the nation actually has such an election.

ElBaradei, who was approved by most of the opposition blocs as the leader of their negotiations with the crumbling Mubarak regime, says he wants to ensure Egypt remains on track for a “new democratic future.”

At the same time, he downplayed the prospect of further negotiations with Mubarak, citing today’s violence in Tahrir Square and asking “how do you expect me to negotiate with a bunch of thugs.”

Though ElBaradei was at one point dubbed a “president-in-waiting,” others see his role as largely temporary, and more about calming Western fears of an “extremist” takeover. Whether ElBaradei’s notoriety can continue long enough to sweep him into office remains to be seen, but it is only a strange coincidence of history that Egypt has a secular opposition figure like ElBaradei that anyone has heard of, given Mubarak’s penchant for crushing dissent.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.