Egyptian reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei on Saturday ended his bid for president after criticizing the interim military government for its failure to bring about “a real democratic system.”
The Nobel laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency accused the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of mismanaging the interim period that followed the January 25th revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
The 69-year-old says he will continue to work with the youth to help fulfill the nation’s hope of freedom, human dignity and social justice.
ElBaradei also threw harsh criticism at the army’s dealing with protesters since they took over.
“And what is worse is how we have seen, young men being treated, people being killed and tortured and when we hear about virginity tests. These are shameful things, really shameful,” he said.
ElBaradei was at one point considered a frontrunner in the race, but recent victories in local elections by Islamist groups tested the viability of his candidacy.
Despite being a populist, ElBaradei didn’t have much of a chance to actually win the presidency, said the prominent Egyptian political analyst and journalist Hisham Kassem.
“I always thought ElBaradei was too ethical for politics,” he says. “He is someone who has played a major role in bringing about the uprising but I wasn’t sure he would have made it as president.”
One of ElBaradei’s political rivals in the presidential race, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, said he regretted ElBaradei’s decision.
Moussa’s campaign told CNN that the candidate commended the role ElBaradei played in the changes Egypt has seen in past months, and hopes that he will continue his efforts to rebuild the country.