If planned 30 June anti-government protests are successful in forcing early presidential elections, Egypt’s political opposition will have only one candidate to represent it this time around “unlike the last elections” one year ago, reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday.
ElBaradei made the statements during a brief visit to a sit-in currently being held by dozens of Egyptian artists and intellectuals outside culture ministry headquarters in Cairo’s Zamalek district to protest the appointment of Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz.
The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency added that his earlier decision not to run for top office was “final,” stressing he would not run in any upcoming presidential polls.
ElBaradei went on to urge Egyptians to participate in the planned 30 June demonstrations, which will call for snap presidential elections and the dismissal of President Mohamed Morsi, who won Egypt’s first-ever free presidential polls last summer.
Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabbahi, leaders of Egypt’s opposition National Salvation Front umbrella group alongside ElBaradei, came in third and fifth place respectively in last year’s first post-Mubarak presidential elections.
On 5 June, dozens of prominent artists and intellectuals broke into culture ministry headquarters where they declared an open-ended sit-in until the newly-appointed culture minister was replaced.
Protesters issued a statement calling for the removal of Abdel-Aziz, who they accuse of “embarking on a plan to destroy national culture.”
A grassroots anti-Morsi petition drive – called the ‘Rebel’ campaign – was launched in May and has been endorsed by most opposition parties and figures.
The campaign aims to collect 15 million citizens’ signatures in support of a ‘withdrawal of confidence’ in President Morsi and demand early presidential elections.
The campaign, which in late May announced that it had collected seven million signatures, has called for mass protests on 30 June, which will mark the end of Morsi’s first year as president.
Campaigners accuse the Morsi administration of “failing to implement policies to improve the life of ordinary people.”
Leading figures from the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which the president hails, along with other Islamist groups, have condemned the campaign and accused its members of “infringing on the popular will.”
Source : Ahram