Egypt opposition forms coalition around El-Baradei

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Author: DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR

Thursday 25 February 2010

CAIRO: Roughly 30 Egyptian secular opposition leaders agreed to form a "Coalition for Change" with former UN nuclear agency head Mohammed El-Baradei, media reports said Wednesday.

The politicians, who met at El-Baradei's house late on Tuesday to discuss the political process in Egypt, agreed to form a coalition to campaign for political reforms and changes to the Constitution.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) late last year said he could run in the 2011 presidential elections only if Egypt amended its Constitution to allow independents to run for president and to allow for greater judicial oversight of the polls.
Police say thousands of supporters greeted him at the airport when he returned to Cairo on Friday.
The coalition agreed to form a legal committee to collect signatures from citizens to petition the government to change the Constitution, the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
"The meeting was not to discuss whether El-Baradei would run in the coming presidential elections, nor to talk about him being the 'savior' or 'the redeemer'," said George Ishaq, the leader of Kifaya ("Enough") opposition movement.
"It was to discuss ... working in the street for political reform," Ishaq told the daily.
As an independent, El-Baradei is constitutionally prohibited from running for the presidential elections.
Amendments to Article 76 of the Egyptian Constitution, passed in 2007, require presidential candidates to have been a member of a legal party's senior leadership for at least a year. El-Baradei has held no such post.
"The goal of the meeting was for the national and political powers to listen to El-baradei's propositions and his ideas on reform," said Hassan Nafaa, a professor and the coordinator of the Egyptian Campaign Against Presidential Succession.
President Hosny Mubarak has ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years.

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