Egypt's ElBaradei calls for true reform

2011-03-10 21:34

Cairo - Egyptian dissident and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said he would run for president if true democratic reforms were implemented, the official MENA news agency reported on Thursday.

"When the candidacy applications are open, I have the intention to run," ElBaradei said during an interview on the private satellite channel ON TV, MENA said.

But "if there is no real democratic system where people will be represented in the presidency and in parliament, then I will not be part of the decor and I will remain a political activist," he said.

ElBaradei, a former UN nuclear watchdog chief, also said he would be voting "no" in an upcoming referendum on constitutional amendments, calling instead for its postponement, or a new constitution altogether.

The military council which has ruled Egypt since president Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down in a popular uprising, formed a panel to pilot constitutional changes.

Egyptians are due to vote on the amendments on March 19.

The proposed changes will limit presidential terms to two and reduce them to four years. They will also ease restrictions on presidential candidates.

But ElBaradei said Egypt needs a constitutional assembly to write up a new democratic constitution.

"If we adopt these amendments, it would mean holding legislative polls within two months, and 80% of Egyptians, or the silent majority, won't have the chance to participate in a real parliamentary election," he said.

ElBaradei has repeatedly said polls should not be held until at least a year from now.

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