For many affluent Egyptians and Western governments one figure has emerged as the “face” of the secular opposition—Mohamed ElBaradei.
He was the head of the international nuclear watchdog the IAEA. His opposition to the Iraq war won him the Nobel peace prize.
But he has very little support on the ground. His arrival has been treated by many involved in the rising with suspicion. When he spoke in Tahrir Square on Sunday some shouted, “Don’t steal our revolution”.
Sections of the movement fear the scope of the revolt, but do not wish a return of the old regime—that is why they back ElBaradei. But his limited influence on the ground means that he is dependent on other forces.
He is undoubtedly sincere in his vision for a democratic Egypt, and could emerge as a key player.
But for many whose lives have been transformed by the revolution, his brand of compromise will not be enough.