CAIRO, (AFP) – Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei warned on Wednesday activists could resort to violence unless political reforms are made, as he called for a boycott of next year’s presidential election.
ElBaradei, the former head of the UN atomic watchdog, made the comments in a video posted on his profile of the social networking website Facebook, as he returned to Egypt for the first time since September.
In the video, he said the government must understand “that we have the right to demonstrate peacefully to demand change,” and warned the opposition could resort to “violence” to make their voices heard.
“If we have to, we will use peaceful, civil disobedience,” ElBaradei said.
“I hope that the regime understands that if they don’t allow us this, the Egyptian people will be left by one choice only… there will be violence in Egypt and that is something no Egyptian wants.”
ElBaradei also called for Egyptians to boycott the 2011 presidential election, while he dismissed as a “farce” legislative polls held in the country on November 28 and December 5.
“The opposition must join ranks… and announce, frankly, that it will boycott the presidential election as long as the constitution has not been amended,” he said.
“I urge you to send a clear message to the regime that we will not take part in this farce next year.”
The Nobel Laureate and former head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency has been calling for constitutional reforms to allow independents like himself to stand in next year’s election.
But the government has dismissed his demands.
ElBaradei had also appealed in September for Egyptians to shun the legislative vote.
His latest call came only days after official results showed the ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak swept the polls in the parliamentary elections, winning 420 of 508 seats.
Independent candidates garnered 70 seats while the opposition trailed far behind with 14 – six going to the liberal Wafd party and none to the powerful Muslim Brotherhood which boycotted the second and last round.
One prominent commentator, Amr al-Shobaki of the Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, has said the new parliament “was tailor-made” to play with the ruling party’s plans.
It is widely believed in Egypt that the 82-year-old incumbent president, who has ruled for 29 years, wants to pass on the baton to his 47-year-old son Gamal Mubarak, a banker who has been pushing for liberal economic reforms.