Press Trust of India
CAIRO, 7 JULY: In another dramatic twist in the saga of political upheaval in Egypt, the interim president’s office dismissed reports that Mr Mohamed ElBaradei has been named the country’s Prime Minister, but said the leading liberal Opposition leader is “the logical choice” for the post.
Mr ElBaradei met interim President Adly Mansour for two hours yesterday afternoon, and “discussions and consultations are ongoing,” presidential adviser Ahmed al-Muslimani said on state-run TV.
“Tomorrow we expect to name the prime minister and the ministers.”
He added that Mr ElBaradei was “the logical choice” among a list of names being considered.
If 71-year-old Mr ElBaradei is selected, it would signal a secular shift just days after a military coup ousted nation’s first democratically elected and Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
The move comes as supporters and opponents of the ousted president planned rival demonstrations today, with the former demanding Mr Mursi’s reinstatement and the latter supporting Mr Mursi’s overthrow.
A coalition supporting 61-year-old Mr Mursi’s reinstatement called for protests today to reject Wednesday’s “military coup” by Egyptian Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Officials had earlier named Mr ElBaradei, a former head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, for the post of Prime Minister. News of his appointment had been criticised by the Salafist Nour Party, which said it would not work with him.
The appointment of Mr ElBaradei caused anger among supporters of Mr Mursi, who want to see him returned to power.
The initial reports of Mr ElBaradei’s appointment were greeted with cheers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Ittihadiya presidential palace.
The celebrations came after 24 hours of violence that left 37 people dead and over 1,400 injured.
The possible appointment of Mr ElBaradei, the defacto head of the Opposition movement in the days leading to Wednesday’s ouster of Mr Mursi, has been discussed as a possibility among supporters in recent days.
Mr ElBaradei ran in the country’s first election in 2012 but withdrew after criticising the interim government for failing to bring about a “real democratic system”.
How Mursi’s supporters, who supported the deposed Islamist president’s rule, react to the new government will be key for post-coup Egypt, where the military suspended the country’s constitution and dissolved parliament.
Yesterday, tens of thousands of angry supporters of the ousted president, chanted slogans like “down with military rule”, took to the streets after Friday prayers demanding his reinstatement.
In the capital, the protesters holding images of Mr Mursi marched towards the Republican Guards Club, where Mr Mursi is believed to have been put “under guard” since Wednesday night.
Despite warning from soldiers, the crowd tried to storm the Guards headquarters, prompting the soldiers to open fire ~ first into the air, then at the demonstrators, killing four demonstrators and wounding dozens, local media reported.
In running street battles in Cairo yesterday, more people died, including two at iconic Tahrir Sqaure, and scores of others injured, reports said.
The worst hit was coastal city of Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt, where street fighting and clashes yesterday left 12 people dead, mostly from gunshot wounds.
Meanwhile, Brotherhood-led National Alliance in Support of Electoral Legitimacy vowed more protests in support of the deposed president.