ElBaradei, 67, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who returned to Cairo in February, has yet to officially declare his candidacy, but is already engaging a campaign which includes visits to mosques and churches and photo ops with celebrities.
Earlier this year, he even established a national association for democratic reforms in his country.
"Egypt has recently held yet another fraudulent and farcical election," ElBaradei wrote, referring to the ruling party's victory. "Ballot boxes were stuffed. Votes were bought. People who considered voting for the opposition were subjected to violence by professional thugs. And these transgressions have been well documented by human rights groups."
According to the veteran diplomat, this is further proof that Egypt is a democracy only on paper. "In reality, the provisions are a hodgepodge that perpetuates the iron grip of the ruling regime. President Hosni Mubarak enjoys imperial powers. There is no legislative oversight of the military budget. No more than five people are permitted to assemble without permission to stage a peaceful demonstration. Universities have security forces on campus to ensure that students do not engage in political activities."
In a hint of his future plans, ElBaradei stated that "a recent constitutional amendment has made it almost impossible for an independent actor to run for president. Any candidate who is not a member of an officially sanctioned party is forbidden to have a headquarters or to raise funds.
"In the 12 months since I began campaigning for reform in Egypt, I have received a flood of requests for interviews, but after the recent crackdown on the media hardly any local TV stations have dared to express interest in talking to me."
In spite of the grim picture painted by the former UN nuclear watchdog chief, he expressed a hope for change. "Egypt urgently needs a new beginning. The voices of dissent are growing in number. We come from many orientations, from different vocations, from different parts of society, from different faiths. But we speak with a single voice in seeking social justice.
"The present pseudo-stability based on repression is a ticking bomb that is dangerously close to exploding. Lasting stability in Egypt, as in any nation, will come only through genuine democracy that responds fairly to the needs and aspirations of all its people," ElBaradei concluded.
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