Cairo, 14 Rabiul Akhir 1434/ 24 February 2013 (MINA) – Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian liberal opposition politician, has called for a boycott of parliamentary elections which start in April, saying he refused to take part in “an act of deception”.
       President Mohamed Morsi called the elections on Thursday, aiming to conclude Egypt’s turbulent transition to democracy which began with the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak by popular protests in February 2011.
       “Today I repeat my call, [I] will not be part of an act of deception,” ElBaradei, a former UN nuclear agency chief and a Nobel Laureate, said on his Twitter account.
        El Baradei said that he had called in 2010 for a similar boycott of polls held under Mubarak, who was toppled the following year.
        Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood has used well-organised campaign operations to win every election since the revolution, while the liberal and leftist opposition has been beset by division.
        Amr Moussa, another opposition politician, also said many members of Egypt’s opposition coalition were inclined to ban the elections. “There is a large group that wants a boycott, but it has not yet been discussed, and no decision has been taken,”
        Moussa said. Meanwhile, Egyptian state media reported that Morsi was considering changes to the start date of the parliamentary vote because it falls on a Christian holiday.
        The president reportedly made the decision after receiving objections from the Coptic Church.

Wide participation

        The Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Morsi, dismissed suggestions that the elections, to be held in four stages from April to June, would lack credibility, according to CNN reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Sarurday.
        Essam Erian, senior member of the Freedom and Justice Party, said the polls would be carried out under “complete judicial supervision” as well as being followed by Egyptian, regional and international media.
       Voting would also be monitored by Egyptian and foreign civil society and human rights organisations, he said on his Facebook page, adding that he expected wide participation.
       El Baradei’s call appeared to reflect confusion within the National Salvation Front (NSF), which groups a number of parties opposed to the Islamists – including his own Constitution Party.
       Only on Friday NSF spokesman Khaled Dawood said the front would meet in the coming week to decide whether to participate. Previous opposition boycott threats have failed to materialise. (T/P01/E1).

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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