Sunday, January 17, 2010

El Baradei's Impact

Issandr El Amrani has assessed the impact of Muhammad El Baradei's possible presidential candidacy in Egypt:
"The response to ElBaradei's advent on the political scene spoke volumes about tensions within the elite. Pro-regime newspapers immediately went on an offensive of insinuations (ElBaradei was accused of being a tool of both Washington and Tehran, out of touch, and secretly Swedish), only to be pushed back by a chorus of indignation by establishment voices left and right. One might not like ElBaradei, this consensus held, but his achievements and stature must be respected; not for him the smear campaigns used against the likes of politician Ayman Nour or civil rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim (as unfair as those might have been).

"Considering that ElBaradei knows that the constitution is unlikely to be amended again, it is fair to view his position as a call for radical change outside of the present constitutional and legal framework. Indeed, it is hard to see alternatives to such a deus ex machina considering the legal and political advantages enjoyed by the regime. But even within the current system, his views might have repercussions. ElBaradei's call for internationally-monitored elections (a first for any major opposition figure) might bring greater scrutiny to 2010's parliamentary polls (in spring and fall, respectively, for the Shura Council and the People's Assembly). Moreover, he has amplified public attention to the presidential election scheduled for the following year. Some believe that Gamal Mubarak will find it much more difficult to run in 2011 (or before that should his father pass away) if ElBaradei is the face of the opposition, and suggest that President Mubarak is now almost certain to run for a sixth term."



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