CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says Egypt does not consider his rival, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency as a national hero.
But Mubarak said Mohamed ElBaradei can challenge him for president, as long as he abides by the rules — which make it difficult for a candidate to qualify.
The state-run Al-Gomhuria newspaper, in its early Friday edition, quoted Mubarak answering a question in Berlin about ElBaradei's hero status among some Egyptians. "Egypt does not need a national hero, because the whole people are heroes," Mubarak said.
The former nuclear watchdog has some popular support in Egypt. ElBaradei and his backers have been calling for constitutional amendments to make it possible for him to mount a real challenge to Mubarak.