He has no army pedigree, lived in the West for decades and has criticized successive rulers of Egypt, from Hosni Mubarak and the generals who replaced him to the now ousted Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi.
Now, more than two years after the anti-Mubarak rebellion, Mohamed ElBaradei, 70, is the designated negotiator for the opposition forces that clamored for the army to remove Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.
Military, political and diplomatic sources tipped him as favorite to head an interim government under Adly Mansour, a senior judge sworn in on Thursday as Egypt's acting president.
ElBaradei met General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi on Wednesday and was present when the armed forces commander announced that Mursi was no longer president and suspended the constitution.
“ElBaradei is our first choice,” a source close to the army said. “He's an international figure, popular with young people and believes in a democracy that would include all political forces. He is also popular among some Islamist groups.”
The source was referring to some members of the Nour party, an ultra-orthodox Salafi group that has been both an ally and a rival of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood.
Political sources said ElBaradei, who won the Nobel peace prize for his work as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), would also be acceptable to Western powers that have studiously avoided calling Mursi's removal a military coup.
Other contenders include former Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri and former Central Bank governor Farouk el-Okdah.
ElBaradei said on Thursday that the army's roadmap, under which a panel for national reconciliation will be set up and the constitution will be reviewed before parliamentary and presidential elections, would “continue the revolution” of 2011.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر