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Egypt's Opposition Coalition Vows to Boycott Elections

FILE - Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the leaders of the National Salvation Front, Mohamed ElBaradei (L), meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo, Egypt, November 2012.
Egypt's opposition National Salvation Front announced Tuesday that it would boycott the country's parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin in April. The alliance of liberal, leftist and secular parties also is refusing to participate in a national dialogue meeting called by President Mohamed Morsi.

The opposition's decision not to participate in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections did not come as a surprise, since two of its top three leaders, Hamdeen Sebahi and Mohamed ElBaradei, already had called for a boycott.

ElBaradei, the symbolic head of the National Salvation Front, called for the boycott on his Twitter account Saturday, saying he was not willing to be part of what he called a “sham democracy.” He also called the elections “an act of deception.”

Opposition leader and spokesman Sameh Ashour told reporters Tuesday there is no guarantee of a free and fair election without a national unity government. He said Morsi has refused to agree to key opposition demands.

Ashour also said the opposition will not participate in a national dialogue meeting held by Morsi late Tuesday. He said the National Salvation Front would not take part in a dialogue that has no meaning and will not serve as “background décor.”

But Morsi said at the dialogue conference that "each election until now has been free and fair," and that it is "everyone's hope that these [parliamentary elections] be free and fair, as well." He went on to urge political leaders who did not attend Tuesday's session to participate in upcoming sessions.

The National Salvation Front represents 11 opposition political parties. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Salafi Nour Party both have indicated that they will participate in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections, as well as Tuesday's national dialogue session.