Sunday, January 15, 2012

A pivotal figure pulls out

Because of his international reputation, the international community considered Mohamed ElBaradei a potent presidential candidate in Egypt.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Mr. ElBaradei will not assume that post.
“The former regime did not fall,” Mr. ElBaradei said in a statement, arguing that the military council that took power in the name of the revolution had instead proved to be an extension of the Mubarak government. “My conscience does not permit me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless it is within a real democratic system.”
On the eve of the anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising that forced Mr. Mubarak from power, Mr. ElBaradei’s announcement may help rally support for the protests planned for that day to demand the exit of the ruling military council.
Mr. ElBaradei's announcement came just a few hours after the Associated Press noted that political maneuvering among Egypt's main parties, as the nation's first post-Mubarak parliament comes closer to being determined. The Guardian adds that the Egyptian people remain concerned about the short- and long-term direction of their nation.
Last week it was revealed that the military is planning its own emotional appeal to Egypt's people. On 25 January, Egypt's generals will attempt to cement their place in their country's history as "defenders" of the 18 days of revolution that began in Tahrir Square.
There will be fireworks and military parades, flypasts by the air force, and prize certificates dropped by air across all of Egypt's sprawling provinces.
This last component of the celebrations, critics allege, is cynically designed to persuade poor Egyptians to stay in their neighbourhoods rather than gather in the squares. All of it is intended as a reminder and an embodiment of a revolutionary slogan that has come to ring hollow over the months: "The people and the army are one!"
The two contrasting pictures of the generals' role in Egypt's unfinished revolution demarcate the frontier of the country's most powerful and unresolved conflict, between its old "deep state" that existed under Mubarak – the concentration of vested interests represented by the military – and those demanding a full transition to civilian government and an expulsion of the felool – literally the "remnants" of the regime.
It is a conflict that continues despite the culmination last week of the first, long, drawn-out stage of Egypt's electoral transformation with the third round of voting for a lower house which will pick an assembly to rewrite the country's constitution ahead of presidential elections.

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