News24

ElBaradei returns to Egyptian politics

2012-04-29 16:03

Cairo - Reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei has launched a new political party that he says aims to unite Egyptians and save the country's revolution from a messy democratic transition.

The Constitution Party marks a return to public life for ElBaradei, who declared in January that he would not run for president and that a fair vote would be impossible during a muddled transition period.

His pullout four months before the start of the presidential vote dealt a blow to the liberal and leftist groups who were behind the January 25 uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak out of office last year.

The groups, many of whom had found in ElBaradei a rallying figure for their calls for democracy in Egypt, had been badly defeated at the ballot box in the first parliamentary elections after Mubarak.

Islamist groups, including the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and the popular ultraconservative Salafi groups, emerged as the biggest winner in those elections, capturing nearly 70% of the seats.

The young activists were also subjected to an escalating crackdown by the country's rulers, including referral to military trials, arrests and media smear campaigns.

ElBaradei told a crowd of supporters: "The aim of this party is to save the great January 25 revolution, which has been derailed, and is almost aborted and to restore our unity.

"When this revolution started we never imagined ... the tragic transition we are living today."

ElBaradei, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, said a new organised political group was necessary to unite Egyptians and to prepare the youth behind the uprising for a political future.