CAIRO: The “Together We Will Change” campaign to acquire signatures calling for political reform has amassed over 200,000 signatures, according to the head of the campaign Abdelrahman Yousef.
Yousef, who runs the site listing the seven specific demands for political reform called for by former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, told Daily News Egypt that the combined efforts of activists have led to over 200,000 signatures so far, whether online or collected in person.
“We expected that the first 100,000 signatures will be slow to attain, and after we crossed that benchmark things would speed up considerably,” he said.
The recent surge in the number of collated signatures can be attributed to a decision by the Muslim Brotherhood to back ElBaradei’s campaign for change and the demands contained therein.
A number of activists affiliated with the campaign have also launched a door- knocking initiative where they travel to Egypt’s major cities knocking on residents’ doors or approaching them on the street with forms to sign, listing the campaign’s demands for political reform.
According to Yousef, there are 80,000 signatures on the original website, while the Brotherhood have amassed another 90,000, with the rest attributed to the proxies that have been signed.
The seven demands listed in the petition include bringing an end to the emergency law, judicial oversight and independent monitoring of elections and a two-term limit on the presidency.
The campaign is targeting 1 million signatures to back the seven demands listed in the petition.
Even before stepping down from his former post, ElBaradei spoke about the change he wished for Egypt, stating that he would consider running in the presidential elections of 2011 if he felt there were “guarantees” that elections would be free and fair.
To this end he spoke about what he felt was needed to ensure political change in Egypt, which included constitutional amendments to the articles that govern the eligibility of potential presidential candidates and which many opposition figures feel is skewed in favor of President Hosni Mubarak and his ruling National Democratic Party.
The door-knocking campaign kicked off in 12 Egyptian cities last week, with campaigners careful not to travel in large groups to avoid haranguing by security services in the streets.
“Some activists who are affiliated with the campaign have decided to go out knocking on doors,” Yousef said. “We encourage all initiatives that lead to gathering more signatures.”
However, Yousef stressed that it was now time to begin looking into the next step, and for all campaigners for political reform to unite behind an agreed upon vision for the following move.
“We now have to start talking about what happens after collecting the signatures; we have to unite the vision of the forces of change.”
Asked whether ElBaradei will call for a general meeting with political forces to discuss the next step, Yousef said: “Dr ElBaradei welcomes all cooperation in the efforts to achieve the change we are seeking.”