Egypt’s revolution ‘hijacked,’ country ‘falling apart’: ElBaradei

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Egypt’s Jan. 25 revolution has been “hijacked” by Islamists and the country is “collapsing on the political and economic levels,” leading opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei said Monday.

“The revolution has been hijacked and that is why we are suffering today. Egypt is now collapsing on the political and economic levels and we are paying a dear price,” said ElBaradei, who is the coordinator of the country’s opposition liberal and secular alliance, the National Salvation Front (NSF), in the closing session of a conference on the country’s woeful economic condition.

He lamented the “lack of rationalism” in the policies of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.

“Problems are no longer seen rationally,” he said, expressing fears over the “obvious collapse of the state” as seen in its inability to maintain order. “There is no executive power and no legislative power. All those are signs that the state is falling apart,” the former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) added.

ElBaradei’s statements came after two days of deadly sectarian violence between Muslim and Christians in Cairo.

Hamdeen Sabahi, another opposition figure and former presidential candidate, condemned attacks on Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, saying they are part a plan to undermine Egypt’s religious institutions.

Previously, accusations were leveled against the Muslim Brotherhood for allegedly trying to overthrow the head of the influential Islamic al-Azhar institution.

“We are the ones who will defend both the cathedral and al-Azhar and we will remain united,” Sabbahi said.

The spat between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Azhar emerged when the principle of Egypt’s Azhar University, Osama al-Abed, was dismissed last week amid a mass food poisoning scandal.

Some members of the opposition say the Muslim Brotherhood movement plotted the poisoning scandal to incite public anger against the moderate institution.

‘Dialogue with the regime’

ElBaradei said the opposition would negotiate a settlement to the political crisis with the ruling Islamists on three conditions: the formation of an independent Cabinet, the return of the sacked general prosecutor and the drafting of a new law that guarantees fair and free elections.

Last month, the Cairo Court of Appeals ruled to reinstate prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud but current prosecutor Talaat Abdullah refused to give up his post.

In February, the opposition called to boycott the forthcoming parliamentary elections saying Mursi’s administration must produce recommendations to ensure the transparency and integrity of the vote.

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