Mohammed ElBaradei
Mohammed ElBaradeiIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Muhammad ElBaradei, the former head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, is the leading candidate for the position of prime minister of the interim government in Egypt, 24 hours after Mohammed Morsi was deposed by the military as the country's president.

The interim government is to rule Egypt until elections are held.

Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was officially sworn into office Thursday as the new transitional President of Egypt.

First, however, he was sworn in as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.

ElBaradei played a key role in protests that removed Hosni Mubarak from power, and planned to run as a liberal, secular candidate in July’s presidential election. He cancelled his bid in January, citing undemocratic behavior by the military.

David Kenner, Associate Editor of Foreign Policy magazine, wrote Wednesday that ElBaradei had confirmed to him that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken with him about the possibility of being appointed prime minister.

“In a meeting earlier this year with a visiting scholar,” wrote Kenner, “[Muslim] Brotherhood deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater said that U.S. officials had called on Morsy to appoint ElBaradei as prime minister... [T]he thinking, according to Shater, was that ElBaradei's appointment could repair the rift between the government and opposition, stabilizing the country.

Kenner and ElBaradei spoke about this as ElBaradei was preparing an article for the magazine's July/August edition.

“In an interview to prepare the article,” Kenner wrote, “I asked ElBaradei about Shater's statement that the United States was pushing for his appointment as prime minister. He acknowledged that Secretary of State John Kerry had raised the possibility with him, but denied that he was interested in the position. "At this stage I think I would be more effective frankly being outside the system and try to focus on the bigger picture," he said.