Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Egyptian Ghad-party joins election boycot, but opposition remains divided
Egypt's opposition Ghad party said on Tuesday it would join Mohamed ElBaradei in boycotting November parliamentary elections. "We respect the opinion of ElBaradei in the boycott," Ghad chairman Ayman Nour said after his party voted overwhelmingly against participation. "This man is a great weight in the process of change, and we respect him."
Last week, former chief of the UN Internationale Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, a potential candidate for president, said the elections would be rigged and anyone participating in them would be going against the national will. A boycott of parliamentary elections could raise the stakes for a presidential vote in 2011, analysts say. It is widely believed that president Mubarak, 82, will cede his place to his son Gamal, 46, although till now this is officially being denied.
The liberal Ghad party hopes that a united opposition to the vote would deny legitimacy to the ruling party, and representatives of Egypt's Kefaya movement and the communist party joined it at Tuesday's meeting. But Egypt's opposition force remains divided, with the Muslim Brotherhood, the biggest opposition bloc with 88 seats in parliament and nationalist liberal Wafd party, saying they will participate in elections.Calls for an election boycott in November grew louder after an upper house vote in June saw Mubarak's ruling party sweep most seats. Rights groups' complained of abuses, while the government insisted the vote was fair. In the absence of a united front, however, the boycot will remain virtually meaningless.