Dominoes? Former UN Agency Head Calls for Rebellion in Egypt
Mohammed ElBaradei, a leading member of the Egyptian opposition, has called for a revolt in Egypt like that in Tunisia. ElBaradei recently returned to politics after serving as head of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for 12 years.
In an interview for Der Spiegel that is to be published in full on Monday, ElBaradei said, “If the Tunisians have done it, Egyptians should get there too.” A regime change is “inevitable,” he declared.
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben-Ali was ousted last week after 23 years in power.
Egypt has more serious problems than Tunisia, he argued, pointing to Tunisia's thriving middle class, which he compared to the widespread poverty in his home country where a middle class barely exists. Egypt may see “a revolt by the poor and the frustrated,” he said.
He denounced Mubarak's Egypt as “a one-party regime,” and called on Mubarak not to seek another term in office, but rather to allow “free and just” elections. Mubarak has ruled Egypt for 29 years, and is rumored to be planning to pass his authority to his son, Gamal Mubarak.
ElBaradei has gathered one million signatures on a petition calling for the democratization of Egypt. He expressed support for a national action day in Egypt scheduled for next Tuesday, but said he would not take part.
If Mubarak allows fair elections, Elbaradei said, he may run for office. If not, he plans to boycott the elections.
Parliamentary elections in Egypt in December were boycotted by two major opposition parties, the Muslim Brotherhood and Wafd, both of which accused Mubarak's NDP of elections fraud.