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14 Jan, 2012 19:50

No choice for Egyptians? ElBaradei pulls out of presidential race

Egypt’s Mohamed ElBaradei has announced he is pulling out of the presidential race in protest against the regime of military rulers. The withdrawal of the political activist leaves Egyptians with almost no hope of change.

In his statement the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said that unless “there is a real democratic system” he will not run for any official position.ElBaradei, who was a prominent opposition figure during the rule of President Hosni Mubarak and an active participant of the uprising that ousted him, stated that the military are governing the country "as if no revolution had taken place and no regime had fallen.”Wael Escandar, an Egyptian journalist and blogger, thinks that by pulling out of the race ElBaradei “hopes to bring light to the fact that nothing has changed in the regime.”“His stance to not to run for the presidency is an extension of his stance during the Mubarak rule, when he refused to be a presidential candidate in light of the corruption. So what he actually means by withdrawing his candidacy is to send the message out that the regime has still not fallen… that the regime is extremely corrupt.”Escandar also thinks that although many saw ElBaradei as a one of the front-running liberal candidates, his victory in the elections was unlikely.“He didn’t have much of a chance under the current regime, because it was still the same chance he had during the Mubarak regime,” the journalist said.“The military want to maintain control over every aspect of Egypt`s political life and they will not gamble with someone like ElBaradei,” he explained. “They will look for another presidential candidate that will be more willing to turn a blind eye to their crimes and their violations and to the way they have been ruling the country so far.”ElBaradei’s withdrawal, Escandar thinks, poses a problem for many liberals in the country, because he was “a top choice for a lot of liberals.”“It also really casts a lot of doubt on the legitimacy of the next presidential elections,” he added.However, stepping off the presidential race does not mean that ElBaradei will leave the political stage, Escandar asserts, saying that he will remain a strong oppositional figure, having accused the military of sabotaging the transitional process.