Cairo – Egypt’s reformist Mohamed ElBaradei announced on Wednesday that he planned to run for president in an election expected to be held this year.
It was the first time that ElBaradei, who won the Nobel peace prize in 2005, has explicitly announced he would run for president after President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown by an 18-day popular uprising last month.
“When the door of presidential nominations opens, I intend to nominate myself,” ElBaradei said on a live talk show on privately-owned ONTV channel.
ElBaradei, 68, also said that he would vote against constitutional amendments in a referendum set for March 19, adding that a new constitution must be drawn instead.
“I will not vote for these constitutional amendments, I will vote against these amendments,” he said.
“The current constitution fell. It would be an insult to the revolution if we decided to retrieve this constitution,” ElBaradei said, calling instead for “a new constitution, a presidential vote and then parliamentary vote”.
The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been running the country since Mubarak stepped down, to delay or cancel the referendum for constitutional amendments.
“We are going in the opposite direction. I call on the military council to delay or cancel the referendum,” he said.
Many have criticised the army’s plan to transfer power to civilian rule by holding a parliamentary vote within six months to be followed by a presidential election.
Some say this is too quick for parties to organise and gives an advantage to remnants of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
“If we go ahead with these amendments this means we would have parliamentary election within two months where 80 percent of Egyptians, the silent majority, would not have a chance to participate in a real parliamentary process,” said ElBaradei.
“It would only be a parliament of the remnants of the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood.”