Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei on Saturday withdrew his candidacy from Egypt’s coming presidential race in protest over the autocratic governance that has persisted under Egypt’s post-revolutionary military leadership. Though Mr. ElBaradei wasn’t considered among the top contenders for presidential elections scheduled for this spring, his global stature makes his pullout a symbolic blow to the military leadership and its often faltering stewardship of the country’s transition to democracy.
Mr. ElBaradei’s statement on Saturday marks the highest-profile censure of the military’s governance since a leading group of generals, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, assumed power from President Hosni Mubarak when he stepped down amid nationwide protests nearly one year ago.
“The regime did not fall yet,” Mr. ElBaradei said in a statement emailed to journalists. “My conscience would not allow me to run for the presidency or any position without having a real democratic system that implements the real concepts of democracy, not only its framework.” Mr. ElBaradei, the former secretary-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he would continue to press for political change outside of the formal political system.