ElBaradei launches new Egyptian party

Mohamed ElBaradei visits a mosque in his home town of Ibyar on Friday September 23 as part of his campaign to be Egyptian president.

Story highlights

  • Mohamed ElBaradei announces the formation of the Dustour party
  • "The purpose of this party is for us to rescue the great revolution," he says
  • ElBaradei dropped his bid for president this year; elections are scheduled for next month

Egyptian reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei on Saturday launched a new political party that he said would "rescue the great revolution."

Sitting alongside other leading Egyptians, ElBaradei -- who dropped his bid for president this year -- announced the formation of the Dustour party.

"The purpose of this party is for us to rescue the great revolution of January 25th, which has gone off track, and which is close to being aborted, to regain our unity in order to achieve the aims of the revolution -- bread, freedom and human dignity," he said.

ElBaradei spoke as Egyptians are preparing for their country's first presidential election since longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year. The historic vote on May 23-24 comes amid rising political tensions as officials work to craft the nation's new constitution and Egyptians await the verdict in Mubarak's murder trial, which is scheduled for June 2.

When he dropped his bid, ElBaradei faulted the interim military government for failing to bring about "a real democratic system."

The Nobel laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency accused the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of mismanaging the interim period that followed the revolution.

Egypt's military has been in control since Mubarak fell. It has pledged to yield power to a civilian government, but many Egyptians have grown increasingly concerned the generals will try to cling to power and remain in charge of the country's executive and judicial branches.

ElBaradei was at one point considered a front-runner in the presidential race, but victories in local elections by Islamist groups tested the viability of his candidacy. The Muslim Brotherhood's political wing won nearly half the seats in the first parliamentary elections in November.

On Saturday, ElBaradei stressed his new party's moderate roots and called for unity among Egyptians.

"We must also not let down this great people ... We have to be honest with them and they must see our actions, more than our words. We can only achieve this with our unity and by cooperating. We are the majority of the Egyptian people, and we will define Egypt's future, God willing," he said.