Egypt: ElBaradei calls for election boycott


Former Egyptian UN nuclear watchdog chief and presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei (C), with a national flag around his shoulders, joins thousands of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir square on November 25, 2011 to call on the ruling military to hand power to a national salvation government.



Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei, who heads the National Salvation Front, has called for a boycott of parliamentary elections in April, CNN reported.

"(I) called for parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy. Today I repeat my call, will not be part of an act of deception," he wrote in a tweet on his official Twitter account, according to CNN.

On Thursday, President Mohamed Morsi’s team announced a four-stage parliamentary election beginning April 27, CNN reported. These are the first elections since Egypt’s lower house of parliament was dissolved in June 2012.

Members of Morsi's party, the Muslim Brotherhood, suggested that ElBaradei’s coalition party simply doesn’t want to participate in elections in which it will likely do poorly. Islamists have won far more elections than liberal and secular party candidates since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted, the Associated Press reported.

"Running away from a popular test only means that some want to assume executive authority without a democratic mandate," Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, wrote on his Facebook page. “We've never yet known (opposition leaders) to face any election or serious test.”

Anti-Morsi activists also questioned whether a boycott was the best way to go, saying it would assure that Islamists continued to dominate parliament, the AP reported.

Blogger and commentator Mahmoud Salem worried that an election boycott would prolong Egypt’s current political impasse, the AP reported. "Where's ElBaradei's party, its plan, its economic vision?” Salem said, according to the AP. “Let's say a boycott is the right answer. What will they do so that they can be competitive in the next election?"

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