CAIRO (AFP) – Former UN atomic chief Mohamed ElBaradei, emerging as Egypt’s highest-profile dissident, has called for constitutional changes in his first statement since forming an opposition group, newspapers reported on Tuesday.
The former International Atomic Energy head demanded an end to Egypt’s emergency laws and judicial oversight over elections as well as the easing of restrictions on presidential candidacies, in the statement.
In the runup to the 2011 presidential election, ElBaradei also called for Egyptians abroad to be allowed to cast absentee ballots.
“A wide sector of groups in Egyptian society call for these (demands) for fair and free elections, as a beginning to change for comprehensive reform,” ElBaradei said.
In an interview with AFP last week, he said political change was the only way to avoid unrest in Egypt, which has been ruled by President Hosni Mubarak ever since 1981.
“I am working to mobilise the popular masses who are pro-change in order to convert the system in Egypt into a democratic system that ensures social justice,” ElBaradei said.
He has said he would run for president on condition that the constitution, which restricts nominations, be amended.
ElBaradei flew back to Cairo to a rapturous welcome from supporters last month and formed the National Association for Change before leaving Egypt again. He is due to return to press for reforms.