Mohamed ElBaradei warns Egypt it is letting a ´new emperor´ take over (GUARDIAN UK) Jack Shenker in Cairo 06/16/12)
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Nobel laureate blames Muslim Brotherhood and revolutionary youth for
letting the generals engineer coup
Egypt is suffering under worse conditions now than under Hosni
Mubarak´s dictatorship, Mohamed ElBaradei has told the Guardian, and
it is on the brink of allowing a "new emperor" to establish total
domination over the country.
He gave a withering assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood movement,
which dominated the now defunct new parliamentary assembly and whose
presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, will face a run-off against
Mubarak´s last prime minister in elections this weekend.
ElBaradei said political Islamists had tried to take "the whole cake"
for themselves following the overthrow of Mubarak last February, and
as a result Egypt´s ruling generals had been able to engineer an
assault on the revolution.
"We are in a total mess, a confused process that assuming good
intentions has led us nowhere except the place we were at 18 months
ago, but under even more adverse conditions," said the Nobel
laureate, who withdrew from the presidential race this year arguing
that a fair vote could not be held while the country remained in the
grip of a military junta.
"We are going to elect a president in the next couple of days without
a constitution and without a parliament. He will be a new emperor,
holding both legislative and executive authority and with the right
to enact laws and even amend the constitution as he sees fit."
On Thursday two hasty constitutional court decisions by Mubarak-
appointed judges appeared to strike a hammer blow at the revolution,
in effect dissolving the democratically elected parliament and
overturning a law that would have barred members of the old regime
from running for high office.
The rulings came less than two days after the ministry of justice
extended the powers of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) and
its soldiers to arrest and investigate civilians, a move Amnesty
International labelled as "the legal sanctioning of abuse".
ElBaradei, a former UN nuclear weapons inspector turned prominent
Egyptian dissident, predicted Ahmed Shafiq Mubarak´s last prime
minister and the man seen by many as an embodiment of the old regime
would emerge victorious from the poll.
"Shafiq as president of the ´new Egypt´ is an oxymoron," said the 69-
year-old. "In this scenario the new president would be backed by Scaf
and political authority in the country will continue to be held by
Scaf, but I think it most likely that he is the one that is going to
ElBaradei confirmed he would not be casting a vote but refused to
formally endorse the growing boycott campaign because, he argued,
the failure to turn it into a mass movement could hand a propaganda
boost to the regime.
At times ElBaradei has been viewed as an opposition figurehead who
occupied the rare position of being able to command respect from
revolutionaries, secular liberals and political Islamists. On Friday,
though, he spoke out against a catalogue of revolutionary
mismanagement on all sides, with his harshest words reserved for the
Muslim Brotherhood whose role in the past year´s "transition
process" has led many pro-change activists to blame political
Islamists for empowering the military and being sucked into an
electoral game designed to give the old regime a faηade of democratic
"The Brotherhood have not served themselves well they have scared
people right, left and centre with some of the extremist views put
forward from them and other Islamist groups," said ElBaradei.
"The Brotherhood should have realised that the vote they got at the
parliamentary elections was not a true reflection of their support in
the street it was the product of a specific set of political
conditions at the time. They should have reached out to other
segments of society and built a broad coalition but they haven´t done
that they started by saying we want to be part of big cake but they
ended up wanting to have the whole cake for themselves. And that
created a backlash, which will be visible in the next couple of days.
People have called on them to withdraw from the presidential race,
but they insist on going forward why?"
He also argued that revolutionary momentum had been stalled by the
failure of young protesters to embrace institutional leadership
wading into a thorny debate over the relative merits of horizontal
and "leaderless" political change about which many activists feel
"The mortal mistake was that from day one the youth never agreed on a
unified demand and never agreed to delegate authority to a group of
people to speak on their behalf," said ElBaradei.
"They were very happy, and we understand that, to say the revolution
is leaderless and that every one of us is the revolution. But they
ended up being crushed by [armoured personnel carriers] and massacred
at [the TV building] Maspero.
"I hope that they have learned the lesson and I think people are now
talking about getting organised under a unified leadership and
engaging the new president to find a way of working together,
preparing themselves for future elections and push for national
The call on young radicals to engage with the new president
particularly if it is Shafiq is likely to be ignored by many
revolutionaries, some of whom believe the only solution is to return
to mobilisation on the street. But ElBaradei said that the broader
population was fatigued with violent clashes and insisted that a
process of national reconciliation was necessary to drive the
"Not co-operating with the new president and saying he has no
legitimacy will be difficult because he will have been selected by
ballot," he said. "Either we try that or we have to get into a
process of national reconciliation, where people say ´well this isn´t
what we wanted, the process has been screwed, but for the sake of the
country we need to find a formula to coexist together´. It´s the
question the revolution will face in the next few weeks.
"People are tired," he continued. "I´m not sure street protests will
get a lot of support from the rank and file after the elections
people want so-called stability.
"I think we need national reconciliation for the sake of the people
in whose interests the revolution was staged the 50% of Egyptians
who are below the poverty line and who have seen nothing good coming
out of the revolution. In fact, for them things have got worse."
(guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012 06/16/12)
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