Reform campaigner ElBaradei plans return to Egypt

Reuters, Thursday 27 Jan 2011

Once-presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei, now remote 'reform' campaigner, plans to return to Cairo today as unprecedented anti-government demonstrations ensue for the third day in a row

CAIRO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Political reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei will return to Egypt on Thursday, his brother said, after two days of clashes between police and demonstrators demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down. Baradei, an Egyptian who led the United Nations nuclear watchdog until late 2009, is a vocal advocate of reform in Egyptian politics and a figurehead for many of the activists who organised the protests, the biggest of Mubarak's 30-year tenure.

Critics have said ElBaradei, who lives in Vienna, should spend more time in his country trying to rally weakened and disparate opposition groups into a coherent movement for change.

"Dr. ElBaradei will be returning tomorrow evening to Cairo," said Baradei's brother Ali in a message e-mailed to Reuters.

Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) dominates the political scene, dealing crushing defeats to its opponents in elections dismissed as rigged by opposition and rights groups.

The government denies the accusations and says election results reflect widespread support for the NDP's policies.

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