ElBaradei’s popular appeal less than certain

The Guardian reports: Egypt’s presidential office has not appointed Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister despite an earlier announcement that he would be sworn in on Saturday night.

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency had been widely expected to take up his post three days after the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi.

Speculation had been rife for several days that ElBaradei would head the transitional government alongside the acting president, Adly Mansour.

But the presidential office backed away from an earlier announcement that the pro-reform leader would be installed.

Ahmed el-Musilamani, a spokesman for Mansour, told the media that consultations were continuing, denying that the appointment of the Nobel Peace laureate was ever certain.

However, reporters gathered at the presidential palace were ushered into a room where they were told by officials to wait for the president who would arrive shortly to announce ElBaradei’s appointment.

A senior opposition official, Munir Fakhry Abdelnur, said that the reversal was because the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour party objected to the appointment and mediation was underway.

Al Ahram reports: Early on Sunday prominent writer Mohamed Hassanein Heikal met interim president Adly Mansour to discuss “the current political situation,” according to Egypt’s presidency.

“Heikal advised the president appoint an economic figure to the post,” a presidential source tells Ahram Online.

Egyptian Central Bank Governor Hisham Ramez, assigned to his post earlier in the year by now-ousted president Mohamed Morsi, remains the highest contender for the job after ElBaradie. Ramez, a career banker with a solid reputation for “progressive” economic choices and with considerable inroads in the international financial and economic scene, is said to be favoured by General El-Sisi, head of the Armed Forces.

According to the sources who spoke to Ahram Online, General El-Sisi is keen to have the man entrusted and appointed by Morsi to send a message of inclusion to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, who has reacted with ire to the ouster of their presidential candidate.

Ramez, according to official and independent economic sources, is also the contender with the widest recommendations from within the business community. His choice as premier is also perceived by the advisors to Interim President Adly Mansour, as well as those to El-Sisi, as sending “a strong message of stable investment policies” — something said to be “particularly crucial at the moment where Egypt is keen to attract as much investment as possible.”

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