Pro-reform leader and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed El-Baradei, center, wears an Egyptian flag draped on his shoulders as he is surrounded by protesters during his arrival for Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo (Photo: AP)
Mohamed ElBaradei has said he is ready to lead a national salvation government after Tahrir protesters rejected the appointment of Kamal El-Ganzouri as prime minister.
In an attempt to appease demonstrators occupying Tahrir Square, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) tasked 78-year-old El-Ganzouri, who served as prime minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak from 1996 to 1999, with forming a new cabinet.
However, the revolutionary forces have held firm, rejecting the military council's decision and nominating ElBaradei to succeed former prime minister Essam Sharaf.
“A number of revolutionary movements, parties and the April 6 Movement met Dr ElBaradei to discuss the latest developments and make suggestions to exit the current crisis,” ElBaradei’s campaign team said in a statement.
“The revolutionary movements have reiterated their opposition to El-Ganzouri’s appointment, saying the only way out of the crisis is the formation of a national salvation government with full authority to lead the country during the transitional period until presidential elections.
“Dr ElBaradei has stressed his readiness to fulfil the demands of the revolutionary forces and form a national salvation government.”
It remains to be seen whether Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the SCAF, will accept such demands and dispense with El-Ganzouri, who said he would need several days to form a new cabinet.
Were he to be apppointed interim prime minister, ElBaradei, former head of the UN nuclear watchdog, would have to abandon his hopes of becoming president.
“ElBaradei is ready to give up his right to run for the president in order to guarantee trust and neutrality during the transitional period,” said his campaign team.
Protesters have staged a sit-in in Tahrir Square since police violently cleared the square last Saturday (19 November). The ensuing clashes left more than 40 dead and scores injured and heaped more pressure on the ruling junta.
In response to pressure from demonstrators, the SCAF said it would hold presidential elections by July 2012.