VP ElBaradie’s resignation draws mostly criticism

Passant Darwish , Thursday 15 Aug 2013

Egyptian VP Mohamed ElBaradei's resignation after police dispersed pro-Morsi sit-ins by force generates intense attacks on the reformer for 'abandoning the country' at a tough time, with a few praising his move

Mohamed Elbaradei (Photo: AP)

Egyptian Vice President for Foreign Affairs Mohamed ElBaradei’s decision to resign from his post has drawn a number of mixed reactions from some praising his stance to others condemning the move.

ElBaradie submitted his resignation Wednesday in a letter to the interim president after the police forcefully dispersed supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi at sit-in protests in Cairo and Giza. The operation led to violent clashes that left at least 281 dead and injuring hundreds nationwide, according to Egypt's health ministry.

From comments on social media to on-air discussions, different audiences appear to have understood very different things in ElBaradei’s resignation.

Rebel campaign, which spearheaded the 30 June mass protests that overthrew Morsi from power, issued a statement via Facebook denouncing ElBaradie’s resignation and describing it as an “escape from responsibility.”

“We were hoping that ElBaradie would do his role in explaining the situation to the global public opinion and international community and clarify that Egypt is facing organised terrorism, which highly endangers the Egyptian national security,” the statement read.

In a statement to ElBaradei, Rebel spokesman Mahmoud Badr said “Unfortunately Sir… you have chosen to beautify your international image in front of your friends around the world at the expense of your national image in front of the Egyptian people and of your role [as vice president].”

The National Salvation Front (NSF), the main Egyptian opposition umbrella, said in a statement that they received El-Baradie’s news that he resigned with “lots of sadness.”

“We thought, based on his close relationship with the front, that he would confer with us before taking that decision,” the NSF statement read.

ElBaradie served as the NSF’s general coordinator from December 2012 till July 2013 before he resigned to take up the post as vice president for foreign affairs in Egypt’s interim government.

NSF has affirmed that any resignations from the government will not affect the group's stance or its persistence to follow the ‘roadmap’ for Egypt in its set times and successfully complete the transitory period.

Meanwhile, Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman applauded El-Baradie’s decision via Twitter.

Karman arrived in Egypt less than two weeks ago to stand in solidarity with Morsi supporters and demand the release of the ex-president, whom she dubbed as the “Arab world’s Mandela,” only to be denied entry by Egyptian authorities and was reportedly told to fly on the same plane back to the United Arab Emirates.

“I call on ElBaradie to withdraw his support for the coup and demand the return to a democratic civilian life in Egypt,” Karman said via Twitter.

Meanwhile, Deputy head of Salafist Nour Party Nader Bakkar described ElBaradie’s resignation as “the least he could do.”

Bakkar, who spoke to Ahram Arabic news website, also said his party, which opposed a violent crackdown on the sit-ins, did not expect the government's “irreverence to bloodshed” would reach such level.

The party’s spokesman Sherif Taha called Elbaradie’s resignation “a step on the right path,” stating that Egypt ‘desperately’ needs national reconciliation.ElBaradei was one of several political and public figures to support the new political roadmap that involved ousting Morsi from his post as president.

The April 6 Youth Movement’s Spokesman Khaled El-Masry said the movement “completely understands” ElBaradie’s decision to resign from his post.

El-Baradie has “humanitarian biases as well as biases for justice and freedom that contradict bloodshed, especially if it happens while he is in a public post,” El-Masry said in a statement to Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

On the other hand, Ahmed Darrag, a high ranking leader of the liberal Constitution Party, the party which ElBaradie established, denounced the ex-vice president’s decision and as a response annouced his resignation from ElBaradie’s party.

During an interview with Egyptian Al-Hayat TV channel, Darrag said he considered ElBaradie’s move as “an abandonment to his country at a time when Egypt needs him most to pass the current situation.”

"ElBaradie’s stance does not represent me or the Constitution Party," Darrag stressed, adding that many party members do not accept ElBaradie’s decision.

The general director of the Constitution Party in the Egyptian governorate of Suez, Sherif Gamal, called on ElBaradie to resign from the party after he resigned from his vice president post.

Gamal told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that the party was surprised by ElBaradie’s decision to resign and “abandon” Egypt in this current situation, after “the Muslim Brotherhood burned churches, stores, cars, governmental and private institutions across the country.”

In his resignation letter, ElBaradie stated, "It has become hard for me to keep bearing responsibility for decisions that I did not approve of and warned against their consequences."

"I cannot be responsible before God for a single drop of blood," he added.

ElBaradie has come under fire in the past weeks by hardline anti-Brotherhood forces who denounced him for advocating a peaceful resolution with the intrasigent Islamists over a security solution.

Last week, the one-time Noble Peace Prize winner expressed his displeasure over vicious personal and professional attacks levelled against him.

"Lies and defamation since January 2010 [when I returned to Egypt] in desperate attempts to keep tyranny alive: attacks on my identity, work, international relations, personal life," he said via Twitter on Sunday.

In response to recent attacks, ElBaradei said his efforts to "prevent the country from falling into a cycle of violence does not reach governmental newspapers."

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