After months of performing like Egypt's Cinderella leader, jet-setting between Cairo and his old home in Vienna, Mohamed ElBaradei has finally reached the limits of his frustration.
At a press conference last week, ElBaradei said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took over from Mubarak, had governed "as if no revolution took place and no regime has fallen".
"My conscience does not permit me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless it is within a democratic framework," the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog said.
His surprise resignation came as a protest to the ruling military council's failure to put the country on the path to democracy. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, a group of the Egypt's highest military officers, took over as "interim rulers" of the country immediately after the February 11 resignation of 30-year-dictator Hosni Mubarak, Mubarak, now 83 years old, is currently on trial along with a number of high-level political and military figures for corruption and for killing peaceful demonstrators in Tahrir Square, where the Arab Spring revolution was born.
In the pre-Tahrir Square days, ElBaradei was among prominent Egyptians constantly mentioned for the post of president, should the revolution succeed. He played a somewhat coy game during this period, expressing reservations about taking on the monumental task of leading his countrymen into a new era of non-corrupt, transparent and responsive government.
The Nobel laureate, regarded as a driving force behind the movement that forced the former president Hosni Mubarak to step down, told the Guardian newspaper that the conditions for a fair election were not in place.
With Parliamentary elections to the lower house over, and the parties of the Muslim Brotherhood and the yet more conservative Salafists winning more than enough seats to effectively control the lower body, it was highly doubtful that ElBaradei could have won enough support from the Liberal parties to gain the presidency.
But it would be a big mistake to count the Nobel-prize-winner out just yet. The historic journey along Egypt's road to good governance has barely begun.
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