Mohammed Elbaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Association, has injected a new dynamism into the Egyptian political scene. He enters the political arena ahead of a difficult political calendar. With parliamentary elections scheduled for late 2010 and presidential elections in 2011, Egypt is heading towards an important period.

Many signs point to the maintenance of the power of the Mubarak regime and the National Democratic Party. ElBaradei has expressed interest in running for the presidency, but that would erquire a constitutional change, and there is no indication that the regime will make that change.

While ElBaradei has garnered significant enthusiasm, and his popularity continues to grow, he is so far incapable of moving the masses. According to Amr Hamzawy, “the opposition spectrum’s most striking feature is stagnation. The parties are weak, losing their constituency, and have aging leaderships. They are also sharply divided between secularists, Islamists, and the domesticated opposition that has worked with the regime.” Despite the hope fostered by Elbaradei, the future portends only more stagnation.