Egypt’s presidential office has not appointed Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister despite an earlier announcement that he would be sworn in on Saturday night.
The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency had been widely expected to take up his post three days after the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi.
Speculation had been rife for several days that ElBaradei would head the transitional government alongside the acting president, Adly Mansour.
But the presidential office backed away from an earlier announcement that the pro-reform leader would be installed. Ahmed el-Musilamani, a spokesman for Mansour, told the media that consultations were continuing, denying that the appointment of the Nobel Peace laureate was ever certain.
However, reporters gathered at the presidential palace were ushered into a room where they were told to wait for the president who would arrive to announce ElBaradei’s appointment.
A senior opposition official, Munir Fakhry Abdelnur, said the reversal was because the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour party objected to the appointment and mediation was underway.
ElBaradei, who leads the National Salvation Front, had been expected to be formally sworn in at the presidential palace. The politican had been widely tipped to take up the position following the ousting of Morsi.
He has played a key role in the background of the current turmoil, meeting General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Wednesday.
“ElBaradei is our first choice,” a source close to the army said. “He’s an international figure, popular with young people and believes in a democracy. He is also popular among some Islamist groups.” GNS