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Egypt's ElBaradei Calls for Election Boycott

A top Egyptian opposition figure has called for a boycott of the nation's upcoming parliamentary elections.

Mohamed ElBaradei said Saturday that he refuses to take part in the elections called by President Mohamed Morsi earlier this week.

Mr. Morsi originally called for the voting to start on April 27, but members of the Coptic Christian minority objected to that schedule, because it would overlap with Christian holidays. To ease their objections, Mr. Morsi rescheduled the elections Saturday. The new starting date will be April 22, with the voting set to end in late June and the new parliament scheduled to hold its first meeting on July 2.

ElBaradei, a former chief of the U.N. nuclear agency, described the poll as "an act of deception."

Islamists have managed to win every election since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Other officials in ElBaradei's National Salvation Front opposition bloc say many members of the bloc are sympathetic to a boycott, but no decision has been made on whether they will join.

ElBaradei noted on his Twitter account that he had called for a similar boycott of polls in 2010 under Mr. Mubarak, who was ousted the following year.

The voting will take place in four stages across a country deeply divided between the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party that has ruled since the ouster of Mr. Mubarak and the more secularist opposition.

This will be Egypt's first election since an Islamist-backed constitution was adopted in December. Critics say the constitution - drafted without opposition input and approved in a hastily organized referendum - fails to provide adequate human rights protections and fails to curb the power of the military establishment.

Violent protests have rocked Egypt for months.