Egypt opposition leader ElBaradei urges Mursi to quit

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Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei on Saturday urged President Mohammed Mursi to step down ahead of planned anti-Mursi protests calling for the Islamist president’s resignation.

During a press conference, ElBaradei said Mursi’s resignation will mark a new era, where another constitution is to be drafted to replace a current one drafted by Islamists.

The former U.N. nuclear chief accused the Muslim Brotherhood, which Mursi hails from, of dividing the Egyptian people and “dragging the country back to Middle Ages.”

ElBaradei said that campaigns calling for protests on June 30, Mursi’s first anniversary in power present a “peaceful, democratic tool” in which people use to express their frustration with Mursi’s government that “has failed to lead the country.”

ElBaradei, a leader at the country’s main opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), said that the country’s charter, which was drafted earlier by an Islamist-dominated constitutional panel, had to respect freedom of expression and beliefs. The current constitution does not guarantee that, he said.

Meanwhile, the NSF leader added that national reconciliation should be reached in the coming period between the country’s different factions, including officials who were in ties with the regime of toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

Still, a yet-untested political isolation clause in the current constitution may ban these officials from top posts.

“I can’t isolate millions of Egyptian people because they were part of the National Democratic Party,” ElBaradei said, referring to Mubarak’s party.

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