Will ElBaradei be Egypt's Mousavi?

Last week Dr. Mohamed Mostafa ElBaradei returned to Egypt amid media scrutiny and calls to run for president. The former IAEA Director General and Nobel Laureate met with intellectuals and other local political leaders in Cairo and the country has since been preoccupied with ElBaradei's potential candidacy.



Michael Slackman writes in The New York Times:

"It is hard to say where Dr. ElBaradei's head-first plunge into Egyptian politics will lead. He has given voice to the frustration with Egypt's political, social and economic stagnation in a way that had not been seen since a brief, measured political thaw in 2005. But his early support appears to be primarily among intellectuals and young people, and analysts have questioned whether he will be able to broaden that appeal."

However, if ElBaradei has the votes of young people, he won't have to broaden his appeal by much. Egypt is a decidedly young country with over half of the population under the age of 25.

There is endless speculation over what the next move will be for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power since Sadat was assassinated in 1981. It is fairly obvious that Mubarak's son Gamal is being groomed for some sort of power play, which has drawn sharp criticism from much of the country. Though Egypt is technically a democracy, protests and political gatherings are severely restricted. The government has also increased the monitoring of its citizens' online behavior and has imprisoned and detained activists, most notably Kareem Amer, whose critical posts about the government landed him in prison four years ago.

We'll have to wait to see if ElBaradei has the potential to unify young Egypt the way Mousavi has in Iran. 

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Jessica Olien is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. She has previously worked as a reporter in Asia and the Middle East.

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