News / Middle East

Egypt's ElBaradei Urges Election Boycott

Mohamed El-Baradei speaks during an interview in his Cairo home, November 24, 2012 file photo.
Mohamed El-Baradei speaks during an interview in his Cairo home, November 24, 2012 file photo.
Edward Yeranian
Egypt's top opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei is calling Saturday for a boycott of the country's upcoming parliamentary elections. A spokesman for the opposition National Salvation Front says the group, as a whole, will decide on its position in the next couple of days.

ElBaradei, who is the symbolic head of the opposition National Salvation Front, called for the boycott on his Twitter account, saying that he was not willing to be part of a “sham democracy.”

He called the upcoming parliamentary elections “an act of deception,” and reminded his supporters that he had also urged a boycott of the 2010 parliamentary elections under former President Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak's ruling National Party won most of the seats in that vote which was tainted by widespread fraud.

The main opposition spokesman, Khaled Dawoud, indicated that the 11 party National Salvation Front would meet on Monday or Tuesday to make a final decision on what position to take.

He noted that the parties were worried that the Islamist government of President Mohamed Morsi would commit the same sorts of electoral fraud as Mubarak did. He insisted that the opposition would like guarantees from Mr. Morsi that that would not happen:

He asks how can elections be held in Port Said, for example, if that city is still in the midst of a (an ongoing) civil disobedience campaign and how can there be a four-stage electoral process if there is some doubt that the judiciary will oversee the elections?

President Morsi issued a decree late Thursday, stating that the parliamentary election would be held in four stages, beginning on April 27. Various opposition groups are complaining that stages of the vote were deliberately scheduled for Palm Sunday and Easter, according to the Coptic orthodox calendar.

Omar Ashour, who teaches political science at the University of Exeter in Britain, insists that those elections held since the overthrow of Mr. Mubarak have been clean elections and that he believes the upcoming vote will be as well:

“Probably the [opposition which] has consistently lost in the last four elections wants to spoil the game," he said. "They don't see a way to power via elections, so their only way is either to boycott or to undermine the whole electoral process.”

Ashour argues that the Egyptian judiciary, which he says is “not friends with the Muslim Brotherhood,” and international monitors will oversee the parliamentary elections, indicating that the vote will in fact be fair.

A large segment of Egypt's judiciary, however, boycotted the December constitutional referendum, which opposition figures claimed was unfair. The opposition is also demanding that Egypt's new top prosecutor be removed, for alleged sympathies with the Islamist government and that a neutral national unity government be appointed to oversee the vote in April.

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Comment Sorting
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 23, 2013 10:56 PM
Failing to participate in a election, even if it is skewed, just will give the country away with out a proper justification. What is the alternative? Egypt needs a full unity gvmt, to get itself out of an accelerating economic decline. All sides, irrespective of polarity, need to put Egypt first; unfortunately, if such a unity gvmt is not put in place, Egypt has the potential to become a failed state, through a similar desintegrating process we observe in Syria's failing.

by: Ramez from: Egypt
February 23, 2013 4:17 PM
I do believe that the opposition alliance is no better than MB. They are worse. They are seeking power over the destruction and collapse of Egypt. They are calling people to continue their peaceful demonstration!!. Sorry.. what peaceful!! Don't they have any sense of what is going on? Don't they care about the people who were killed and continue to be killed? Don't they care about the continuous destruction to private and public properties? Don't they realize that Egypt is on the verge to collapse? The fact is they only seek to grab the power whatever the price is, who cares. They are as unwise as the MB who were aiming to get control on everything and neglecting the immediate needs of people (specially the poor) who voted for them. Morsi was democratically elected but he was chosen as the best of the worst. This is due to the selfishness of the opposition leaders who refused to make a coalition because everyone wants the chair. They are stupidly repeating the same mistake. The MB party will merely get 20 to 25% on the next election because they lost a lot of their credibility even among their previous supporters. Get united and get the majority in the parliament instead of encouraging people to foolishly demonstrate and demolish the country. I'd rather prefer that the army take control temporarily and restore stability rather than the country falling apart between two unqualified rivals.. So shut up Baradei..

by: Mahmud Abbas from: Egypt
February 23, 2013 10:45 AM
Hey America, ElBaradei is nothing here - less than a joke... he is regarded as a comic relief... he is nothing but a Western Media manufactured dummy. he has no power base - no Egyptian follows this UN fool... so please stop quoting this comic fool as a voice of the "opposition" he is no such thing
In Response

by: Saleh from: Gaza
February 23, 2013 5:25 PM
I think that the Muslim Brotherhood are destroying Egyp.

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