Tags: egypt | elbaredi | vote | democratic

ElBaradei May Lead Democratic Revolution in Egypt

Sunday, 21 February 2010 08:21 PM

CAIRO—Hundreds of supporters flocked to Cairo International Airport to greet the arrival of Mohamed ElBaradei on Friday amid speculation that the former International Atomic Energy Agency chief will challenge Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in elections next year.

Mr. ElBaradei has said he would be willing to consider running against the 81-year-old Mr. Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for 29 years.

While he faces significant obstacles to getting on the ballot, Mr. ElBaradei, 67 years old, has already positioned himself as what he called "an agent of change." Mr. ElBaradei hopes to pressure Mr. Mubarak's government for democratic and constitutional overhauls.

On Friday, as many as a thousand people, many of them brandishing pro-ElBaradei signs and chanting slogans, gathered outside the airport terminal here amid an extensive security presence.

The crowd broke into applause and began chanting "Long live Egypt" as Mr. ElBaradei entered the terminal. The crush of supporters outside the main door was so thick, according to witnesses, that Mr. ElBaradei had to leave through another exit.

He departed without addressing the crowd, but is expected to give a series of television interviews during a 10-day stay in the country.

The former Egyptian diplomat has spent most of the past 30 years overseas. He stepped down this past November after 12 years heading the IAEA, the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

There, he spearheaded investigations into the nuclear ambitions of Iraq, Iran and North Korea—raising the IAEA's international profile and winning the agency, and himself, the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Sunday, 21 February 2010 08:21 PM
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