Liberal Youth 'Decimated' in Egypt Vote: ElBaradei

Nobel Prize winner fears extremist control over country
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 5, 2011 8:29 AM CST
Pro-reform leader and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his home in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

(Newser) – The liberal youth behind Egypt’s protests were “decimated” in the elections, says reformist leader Mohamed ElBaradei, and now the country must work to avoid an extreme-right Islamist government. “The youth feel let down. They don't feel that any of the revolution's goals have been achieved,” he tells the AP. And it’s not just young people who are unhappy: The whole country is feeling “angst.” It’s up to the ruling military to ensure that the new constitution that is to be drafted reflects consensus, he said.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood should speak out against some ideas advocated by ultraconservative Salafis—like calling a Nobel laureate's novels “equal to prostitution,” questioning “whether women are going to drive their cars,” or suggesting that “democracy is against Sharia.” It’s time to “make clear that some of these voices ... are on the extreme fringes and they will not be the mainstream.” Still, after life under Hosni Mubarak, “it should not be a surprise people are voting with their gut," ElBaradei notes. "People lost their sense of identity with the state. They identify with religion."

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