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El-Baradei Launches New Egyptian Party

Muhammad El-Baradei addressing protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo on January 30, five days after protests started and less than two weeks before the popular revolt swept Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Egyptian reform leader Mohamed El-Baradei has launched a new political party he says aims to save the country's democratic movement.

His announcement of the new Constitution Party marks a return to public life for El-Baradei, who declared in January that he would not run for president.

"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," El-Baradei said at the announcement of the party's founding on April 28.

"I am completely confident that this party, this moderate Egyptian party, this neutral party, this party of tolerance, this party of equality, this party of justice -- all of these great human values that we lived under in the past and which we will live under in the future, God willing -- it will govern Egypt in the future and it will found the Egyptian renaissance in the future."

El-Baradei's pullout four months before the start of the presidential vote had dealt a blow to the liberal and leftist groups who were behind the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak out of office last year.

The return of El-Baradei could now give liberal groups new hope after they suffered a major setback in Egypt's' parliamentary elections, where Islamist parties captured nearly 70 percent of the seats.

Meanwhile, a major Egyptian fundamentalist party says its will back a moderate Islamist candidate for president. The Al-Nur party, one of the two largest fundamentalist political groups in the country, said its decision to back Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh is designed to allay fears among Egyptians over the growing strength of the Muslim Brotherhood. Abol Fotouh is a former senior leader of the Brotherhood, which expelled him from the movement last year.

The first round of Egypt's presidential election will be on May 23 and 24.

A law scholar and longtime diplomat, El-Baradei headed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1997 to 2009, earning a joint Nobel Peace Prize with the IAEA in 2005 for his efforts.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters