Egypt: Opposition Groups Form Steering Committee, Tap ElBaradei as Spokesman
On Sunday, Egypt’s opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, agreed to back Mohamed ElBaradei as the lead spokesman for the country’s opposition groups in reform negotiations and to lead an interim government. This marked the first real attempt by opposition forces to organize behind a common voice. Speaking in Cairo on Sunday, ElBaradei stated that he now has “the popular and political support” necessary to being the process of forming a unity government and would seek contact with the army to discuss a political transition: “Once Mubarak is out, you will see that a lot of these demonstrators will go home. We are capable here of running a smooth transitional period.” The opposition groups formed a steering committee to strategize further movements and pressure President Hosni Mubarak and his military leaders for more political concessions. Members of the group include ElBaradei (NAC), Ayman Nour (Ghad), Osama Ghazali-Harb (DFP); Abdel-Gelil Moustafa (NAC); George Ishak (Kefaya); Mohd El-Beltagui (MB), Magdy Ahmed Hussein (Hezb al-Amal al-Islami – Islamic Workers’ Party & also Kefaya), Hamdil Sabahi (Karama), Abdel Halim Qandil (Nasserist Party). The tenth seat is reserved for the youth movement, and a representative has not yet been named.
Not all believe that ElBaradei is the best choice, however. ElBaradei is not “a leader that stands out who can unify everybody,” says Hala ElBarkouky, an Egyptian investment banker and financial consultant who participated in a steering committee meeting on Sunday. “He was not there for the people,” she states, noting that his absence to previous demonstrations. It is a sentiment many in Egypt feel. ElBaradei, however, has stated that he does not seek presidency and hopes to simply help the democratic transition.