Mohamed ElBaradei Quits the Egyptian Presidential Race

The would-be reformer who headed the UN's nuclear monitoring program says the military junta in Egypt is running the country just like in the bad old days.

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Mohamed ElBaradei announced he was dropping out of the race for president in Egypt on Saturday. The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a Nobel laureate, ElBaradei said he was abandoning his campaign for president as an agent of reform, and charged that the military junta now ruling the country had changed little since the overthrow of longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

The country is not in position to hold democratic elections, ElBaradei's statement said, according to the Associated Press, and the military has been ruling Egypt "as if no revolution took place and no regime has fallen."

There were some doubts about his prospects for success in the race to begin with, CNN noted, especially given the victories in recent local elections by candidates from Islamist parties. ElBaradei has campaigned on a secular, reform platform, and reiterated in his statement this weekend that he remains allied with the youth movement that helped trigger Mubarak's collapse.

There were words of praise and regret from at least one of ElBaradei's rivals, CNN reported:

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.

ElBaradei apparently canceled earlier plans to make his announcement at a press conference, huddling privately with advisers as the statement was released to the media instead. The first indication of his plans, of course, came from ElBaradei's Facebook page.

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