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ElBaradei needs formal role, officials say

CAIRO, July 21 (UPI) -- Egyptian diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei needs to lead a formal political party in order to launch a bid for the presidency, Egyptian leaders said.

ElBaradei returned to Cairo in February, adding fuel to rumors he would challenge 82-year-old Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 elections.

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ElBaradei said he would challenge Mubarak in 2011 if the elections were deemed free and fair. Political supporters suggested ElBaradei wouldn't run without certain constitutional amendments, however.

Mahmoud Messallam, the speaker of the Egyptian parliament, said ElBaradei has the right to position himself as a presidential contender but needs to follow a certain course of action to achieve his objectives, Egypt's al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reports.

The speaker said ElBaradei would need to become a leader of a political party to be a legitimate candidate, however.

ElBaradei said his top priority was to usher in political reforms in Egypt. In a June interview with the Muslim Brotherhood's Ikhwanweb news service, ElBaradei said, "If the people really want me to be a candidate, I shan't let them down."

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