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ElBaradei changing the system?

Mohamed ElBaradei. (UPI Photo/Mohammad Kheirkhah)..
Mohamed ElBaradei. (UPI Photo/Mohammad Kheirkhah).. | License Photo

CAIRO, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Supporters of Egyptian leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the former nuclear watchdog chief is stirring the political pot in Cairo amid presidential rumors.

The government warned supporters against interfering with airport operations while greeting ElBaradei, who led the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997 to 2009.

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His return was met with rumors that the former IAEA chief, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, would challenge ailing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 elections.

ElBaradei upon his return formed a "change" association, which is considered a different organization than a political party.

Opposition supporters of ElBaradei said the mention of a possible presidential bid is changing politics in Egypt, Egypt's Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reports Thursday.

"What's important is that ElBaradei has embarrassed the regime domestically and internationally for not allowing independents to run in elections," said Amr Rabie with the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood challenged the political system in Cairo by running as independent candidates in the 2005 parliamentary elections. ElBaradei, who has not formally announced a decision, said he would run only as an independent.

Opponents said politics in Cairo are larger than ElBaradei's ambitions, however.

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