Explosive ElBaradei interview sparks furious backlash in Egypt

Explosive ElBaradei interview sparks furious backlash in Egypt
3 min read
10 January, 2017
MP Mostafa Bakry has presented an official letter to the parliament demanding that former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei be stripped of his citizenship.
Mohamed ElBaradei recently hinted at a return to Egyptian politics [Getty]
An Egyptian parliamentarian has demanded that former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei be stripped of his Egyptian citizenship for "inciting against the Egyptian nation".

Mostafa Bakry accused ElBaradei of "playing a dangerous role of inciting against Egypt" and "defaming its state institutions before international organisations and entities."

He added that ElBaradei's 2006 Order of the Nile decoration, which is Egypt's highest state honour, be revoked.

Bakry's complaint was presented in an official letter to parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal. It was accompanied by documents and videos, which the MP claimed could be used as evidence that would require ElBaradei's citizenship to be withdrawn.

According to state owned al-Ahram daily, parliamentary sources were unable to confirm whether the documents were genuine.

Bakry's actions come in response to the leak of two purported recordings of ElBaradei's phone calls on Saturday, revealed by Sada el-Balad TV channel presenter Ahmed Moussa.

In one call, said to be from March 2011, ElBaradei apparently negotiates with Sami Anan – the then army chief of staff – on behalf of anti-government protesters, apparently asking for the resignation of Egypt's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

In the second purported leak, ElBaradei is allegedly heard discussing Revolutionary Youth Coalition dealings with his brother Ali ElBaradei.

Moussa – a TV presenter known for his staunchly pro-government stance – presented the recording as evidence that ElBaradei viewed many Egyptian revolutionaries as ignorant.

Moussa went on to urge his audience to tweet under the Arabic hashtag "expose the rude ElBaradei," which began trending in Egypt.

On the same day, ElBaradei gave an interview with Al-Araby TV in which he hinted at a return to Egyptian politics after three years of abstention.

Read more here: Egypt’s ElBaradei breaks silence in first TV interview

"It's become the duty of every person to speak… and to attempt to help even if only by one percent, because the Arab World is in crisis and has reached a stage in which it is destroying itself," ElBaradei said explaining his decision to speak to the press.

ElBaradei, 74, returned to Egypt several months before the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in spring 2011, after years of living between his country of birth and Europe.

During the short tenure of Egypt's first democratically-elected president Mohamad Morsi, ElBaradei helped co-found the National Front for Salvation, a coalition of 35 groups that opposed the Islamist government.

After the military, ElBaradei served as Egypt's vice president for a short period between July and August 2013. He resigned from the post after Egypt's military government forcibly removed pro-Morsi protesters, killing over a thousand of them.

This move prompted many pro-government media outlets in Egypt to label ElBaradei as a deserter and a traitor to the nation.