ElBaradei addresses Egypt's current political challenges

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Presidential candidate ElBaradei said people change their opinions on democracy all the time, photo by Peter Wissa

Mohamed ElBaradei, an activist and presiden­tial candidate, compared Egypt’s nascent political reforms to “children crawling to reach democracy [and] God is the only perfection,” when he spoke at the AUC New Cairo campus on April 7.

During the lecture, ElBaradei highlighted Egypt’s current political challenges  and discussed the steps the country should take toward reform.

He also pointed out that many Egyptians may not understand the fundamental concepts of democracy.

“Democracy is the foundation of life [and] it means that the citizens own their country and have the rights of free speech and religion,” ElBaradei said.

He added that it takes time for a country to be­come a fully functional democracy.

“The most developed democratic countries, still work to improve their democratic system… We will make mistakes in the future and that is how democracy works. This is why people change their opinions in a democracy,” he said.

ElBaradei talked about economic reforms, as well as improvement to healthcare and education.

“We spend 3.06 percent on the healthcare and more than 50 percent of Egypt’s population does not have access to the system,” he said. “The focus on the economy should ensure educational rights and the education crisis is an element that needs tackling.”

ElBaradei was invited to AUC as part of the Leadership for Education and Development (LEAD) program’s ‘Political Awareness’ campaign.

A former head of the International Atomic En­ergy Agency, ElBaradei has been in the media spot­light for years, particularly since returning to Egypt after a decades-long absence.