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Citizens should be able to contest Egyptian polls: ElBaradei

Last Updated: Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 13:11

Cairo: Former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who is considering contesting the Egyptian presidency, has said that the top job must be open to citizens by "removing the constitutional and legal obstacles hampering the rights of the majority".
"The position must be open to all Egyptians whether they are members of a party or independent, by removing the constitutional and legal obstacles hampering the rights of the majority," he said.

The former head of UN`s nuclear watchdog said he would consider running for the presidency if the election process were democratic.

Following reports of irregularities in 2005 elections, ElBaradei called out for "the establishment of a national independent body to organise all matters related to the election process."

Elections must be held "under the full supervision of the judiciary... and in the presence of international observers from the United Nations to ensure transparency," ElBaradei said.

The 67-year-old is one of the country`s prominent figures on the global stage after serving as the head of the IAEA for 12 years which ended last Friday and won the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

Egypt`s liberal party Al-Wafd has named him as a possible nominee to succeed President Mubarak who has been in power since 1981.

Mubarak has not appointed any deputy during his five terms at the office. The constitution has been amended twice during his presidency, which makes it almost impossible for any candidate to contest without the support of the ruling party.

ElBaradei stressed the need for a new constitution "based on freedoms and human rights agreed upon internationally."

Many analysts believe the constitutional amendments were a deliberate arrangement to enable the president`s son Jamal Mubarak -- former banker and current head of policies committee of the ruling party -- to easily take the position.

Egyptian law requires that the presidential candidates nominated by their parties must have held senior rank for at least one year within the party. Also, the party concerned must be established at least five years before the election.

Independent candidates must secure the backing of 250 elected politicians, including at least 65 members of the Lower House, 25 members of the Upper House and 10 members of Municipal Councils -- bodies dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party.


First Published: Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 13:11

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