CAIRO, (AFP) — The ex-head of the UN nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday he would not run for the Egyptian presidency, saying there is still no real democracy in the country.
“My conscience does not allow me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless there is real democracy,” ElBaradei said in a statement received by AFP.
He praised the revolutionary youths who led massive popular uprisings that ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year but said “the former regime did not fall.”
ElBaradei compared the revolution to a boat and charged that “the captains of the vessel … are still treading old waters, as if the revolution did not take place.”
He charged that corruption was still rife in post-Mubarak Egypt, which is being ruled by a military council since the veteran president was ousted from power in February following an 18-day popular uprising.
“We all feel that the former regime did not fall,” he said in the statement.
ElBaradei denounced the “repressive” policies of Egypt’s new rulers, who he said were putting “revolutionaries on trial in military court instead of protecting them and punishing those who killed their friends.”
His comments reflect growing disenchantment with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The SCAF has repeatedly pledged to cede full powers to civilian rule when a president is elected by the end of June but there is widespread belief that the military wants to maintain a political role in the country’s future.
The military has also come under fire over its human rights record in recent months in the face of accusations that it has been resorting to Mubarak-era tactics to stifle dissent.
Egypt witnessed deadly clashes between democracy protesters and regime forces in November — before parliamentary polls began — and again in December.
Mubarak is on trial and the prosecution has called for him to be hanged for the killing of hundreds of demonstrators in the January-February 2011 revolt.