Egypt in bad shape, say ElBaradei

May 24, 2010 at 12:28 PM
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CAIRO, May 24 (UPI) -- The people in Egypt calling for political change deserve to have their complaints addressed, said Egyptian diplomat Mohammed ElBaradei.

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

He has brushed off specifics on his political intentions, saying he was serving primarily as an agent of change.

In an interview with the news agency France 24, he said Cairo needed to address its reputation as an authoritarian regime, adding the power for change was in the hands of the people.

"Egypt is not in good shape," he said. "We do not have democracy. And I believe that only by empowering people will we have economic and social development and be able to join the rest of the world."

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

"It remains to be seen if they will do that," he told France 24. "But my immediate priority is to see that we are moving from an authoritarian system of government to a democratic system."

Mubarak hasn't made his intention for 2011 known publicly.

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