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ElBaradei needs spotlight, backers say

  |   May 21, 2010 at 2:06 PM
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CAIRO, May 21 (UPI) -- The absence of Egyptian diplomat Mohammed ElBaradei from the political limelight is casting a shadow on his ambitions, his supporters said.

ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Cairo in February, fueling rumors he may challenge 82-year-old Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 elections.

Following a flurry of speaking engagements, including an April visit to the United States, the fading of the Nobel Peace Prize winner from the public scene is a cause for concern among his supporters, the Emirati newspaper The National reports.

Waleed Rashed, a co-founder of ElBaradei's so-called change movement in Qatar, told The National that the political presence of the former IAEA chief was needed.

"And he should be more involved in the daily activities that are taking place in the street, like political and labor protests," he added. "It's not enough that he issues statements or responds on Twitter from abroad."

Cairo witnessed violent protests this year as opposition supporters called for greater political freedoms. An emergency law in place since the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat places restrictions on certain political actions.

ElBaradei said he would consider a presidential bid if the constitution was amended to create greater transparency in the Egyptian political process.

Mubarak, in office since 1981, has not revealed his intentions for 2011 elections.

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