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A reported blog about all things Middle East and North Africa.

Egypt's military opens presidential race

Concern lingers as the armed forces announces a timetable for presidential elections.
Baradei president raceEnlarge
Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel laureate, withdrew from Egypt's upcoming presidential race, siting undemocratic measures taken by the country's ruling generals. Egypt's military announced Sunday that nominations for the race would open mid-April. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt will open nominations for candidates for president in mid-April, with elections slated for mid-June, one of the country's ruling army generals told a local television station Sunday. But is the race already tainted? 

Nobel laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, withdrew his bid for Egypt's presidency on Saturday, saying he feels as though "the former regime has not fallen." (English translation of ElBaradei's statement here, recommended by the stellar Middle East Arabist blog). 

Egypt's transition to democracy since a popular uprising ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in February has been messy at best, with deadly crackdowns on protests, torture, military trials and media censorship.

The ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) had issued contradictory statements about when it planned to handover power to civilian rule, at one point saying presidential elections would not be held until 2013.

ElBaradei was not expected to garner a significant portion of the vote, but is largely respected as a man of integrity in Egypt's political circles. (Although outside Tahrir Square, he is often denounced as a Western stooge). 

For more analysis on ElBaradei's withdrawal in the context of parliamentary elections and military rule, see here and here

More from GlobalPost: Mohamed ElBaradei pulls out of Egyptian election

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-casbah/egypts-military-opens-presidential-race