The interim presidency has nominated reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei for vice president and economist Ziad Bahaa Eddin for prime minister, a flip-flop that comes the day after objections from the Salafi Nour Party forced the government to suddenly withdraw its nomination of ElBaradei as PM.
There seems to be more popular consensus around Bahaa Eddin’s appointment as prime minister, but the Nour Party, which apparently holds the position of kingmaker in these decisions, has made it clear that it wants a figure with no political affiliation for the post.
As of Monday, however, the Nour Party stepped away from the negotiating table altogether in the aftermath of the bloody confrontation at the Republican Guards headquarters between pro-Morsi protesters and security forces that left at least 40 people dead.
“We will not be silent about the Republican Guards massacre. We wanted to avoid bloodshed, but it is now spilling in rivers,” Nour Party spokesperson Nader Bakkar said on his official Twitter account.
“We have decided to immediately withdraw from all negotiations as an initial reaction to the massacre,” he added.
However, Ahmed al-Moslemany, spokesperson for the presidency, told Reuters that Monday’s events “will not stop steps to form a government or a roadmap.”
Bahaa Eddin said in a phone-in interview on a television talk show on Sunday night that he is still considering whether or not he would accept the difficult post given the challenges the country is facing, though he is excited about the prospect.
The potential PM was a member of the country’s first post-Mubarak Parliament as a representative of the Social Democratic Party, of which he is a founding member. He has written extensively over the past two years about the economic challenges Egypt is facing, social justice and inclusive economic policies.
A veteran economist with a legal background, Bahaa Eddin served as chairman of the General Authority for Investment from 2004-2007 before going on to head the Financial Supervisory Authority, which oversees all non-bank financial markets, institutions and products, including mortgage finance, insurance and capital markets.
After the outbreak of the 2011 revolution, he resigned from his post. In February that year, he was tasked with forming a committee to draw up legislation to prevent conflict of interests between officials and the state. Bahaa Eddin is now the director of the Egyptian Initiative for the Prevention of Corruption.
On Saturday, news that ElBaradei would be named PM made headlines, sparking heated reactions that mirrored the country’s wide and divided political spectrum. Though welcomed by opponents of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, ElBaradei’s name irked Islamist leaders, who dismiss him as a secularist likely to endanger the future of political Islam.
Nour Party officials quickly spoke out against ElBaradei’s nomination and threatened to walk away from the negotiating table, a cause for concern since this is currently one of the few Islamist groups siding with a post-Morsi political transition. The party is considered by some to be the only bridge left between the Morsi government’s supporters and opponents.