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ElBaradei slams Tantawi's calls for new constitution before elections

Ex-IAEA chief condemns military council's insistence on formulating new national charter before next month's presidential race, vows to establish new political party

Ahram Online, Monday 16 Apr 2012
Mohamed ElBaradei
Pro-reform leader and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei (Photo: AP)
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Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and one-time presidential hopeful, has blasted recent calls by Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's ruling military council, to draft a new Egyptian constitution before presidential elections are held next month.

ElBaradei has also warned against electing a president under the terms of the constitutional declaration issued by the ruling military council in the wake of last year's revolution.

"Electing the president under the constitutional declaration is a continuation of [the practice of] electing authorities with incomplete powers," ElBaradei declared on Twitter on Monday morning. "Who would be the supreme commander of the armed forces? Who would [have the authority] to declare war?"

The Nobel laureate withdrew from the presidential race in January to protest the military council's decision to elect a president before a new constitution – which would theoretically define the new head of state's powers – is drawn up.

ElBaradei also criticised Tantawi's statement to political party representatives on Sunday in which he reiterated calls to draft a new national charter before the elections in May.

"Result of bungled transition," the long-time diplomat declared on Sunday evening. "Egypt to write constitution in one month. The travesty continues."

"Leading Egyptian thinkers drafted the 1954 constitution in 18 months, whereas the military council demands the revolution's constitution be ready in one month!" ElBaradei added. "Do not underestimate the importance of the constitution. Egypt deserves better than that."

In a related development, ElBaradei announced on 9 April that he planned to co-found a new political party. Tentatively dubbed the "Revolution Party," it would strive to become a broad-based coalition "that will include all secular forces" in Egypt.

The new party is expected to include several prominent Egyptian public figures, such as economist Galal Amin; international law professor Hossam Eissa; novelist Alaa El-Aswany; television presenter and activist Gameela Ismail; Kefaya protest movement founder George Ishaq; film director Khaled Youssef; film producer Mohamed El-Adl; and revolutionary activists Shady El-Ghazaly Harb and Rami Shaath.

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