CAIRO, July 4 Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N.
nuclear agency chief, is favourite to head a transitional
government in Egypt after the military overthrew Islamist
President Mohammed Mursi, military, political and diplomatic
sources said on Thursday.
ElBaradei, 71, was mandated by the main alliance of liberal
and left-wing parties, the National Salvation Front, and youth
groups that led anti-Mursi protests as negotiator with the armed
forces and was present when armed forces commander General Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi announced the military takeover on Wednesday.
"ElBaradei is our first choice," a source close to the
military high command said, speaking on condition of anonymity
because of the sensitivity of the situation.
"He's an international figure, popular with young people and
believes in a democracy that would include all political forces.
He is also popular among some Islamist groups," the source said.
Political sources said ElBaradei, who won the Nobel peace
prize for his work as head of the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA), would also be acceptable to Western governments
that have bent over backwards to avoid calling the removal of
Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood a military coup.
Political sources said other figures under consideration
were veteran ex-prime minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, who headed a
transitional government in 2011-12 after the uprising that
ousted Hosni Mubarak, and Farouk El-Okdah, a respected former
central bank governor.
A decision was likely later on Thursday, the sources said
after constitutional court chief Adli Mansour was sworn in
earlier in the day as interim head of state.
ElBaradei has long pressed for Egypt to sign a $4.8 billion
loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, which Mursi's
government initialled last November but never ratified or
The deal would help kick-start an economy severely battered
by the collapse of tourism and foreign investment due to
political uncertainty since the 2011 revolution. But it would
also mean implementing potentially unpopular cuts in fuel and
food subsidies, and tax increases.