ElBaradei ends presidential bid in Egypt

ElBaradei ends presidential bid in Egypt

ElBaradei ends presidential bid in Egypt

‘There is still no real democracy in Egypt,’ Mohamed ElBaradei says. AP photo

Ex-U.N. nuclear watchdog chief and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei ended his candidacy for Egypt’s presidency Jan. 14, saying a fair election is impossible under the military’s grip nearly a year after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster and there is still no real democracy there.

“My conscience does not allow me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless there is real democracy,” ElBaradei said in a statement. He said there was no room for him in Egyptian politics because old symbols of the regime were still running the country, and charged that preparations to draw a new constitution were “botched.”

The Nobel Peace laureate’s pullout is a slap to the military and the credibility of its plans for Egypt’s transition. He was seen as the most pro-revolution of the candidates and the strongest advocate of deep change in a country long under autocratic rule. His participation, therefore, gave a degree of legitimacy to the military-run election process.

“To have total change, we must work from outside the system,” ElBaradei said in a video released later Jan. 14. He said he would work to unify youth groups, reclaim the goals of the revolution and address social justice, freedom and economic development. The 69-year-old ElBaradei, who received the Nobel for his work as head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, has been a frustrating figure for some activists amid Egypt’s upheaval. He had a significant role behind the scenes in putting together the network of youth activists that launched the 18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak. He has been sharply critical of the military’s handling of the transition since.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.

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