Sunday, February 24, 2013

Egyptian opposition against holding elections under the current circumstances

Egypt's parliamentary elections, previously scheduled to begin on 27 April, have been brought forward to start on 22 April, according to a statement issued by president Morsi's online media outlets. The Coptic Christian minority had criticised the planned timing of the elections because some voting would take place during Palm Sunday and Easter.
Baradei (l) and Sabbahi (epa)
 The elections wil be held in four stages, each time in different governorates. The last ropund will be held in June. If runoffs are necessary they will each time be held one week later.
Morsi got the he support for the planned election from Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood  and the ultra-conservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Construction and Development Party. Opposition forces, however, raised objections, because they were sidelined in talks over setting elections laws and timeframe. Mohamed ElBaradei, a founding member of the main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front (NSF), called for a boycott,  saying he will not be "part of an act of deception." Other opposition figures have echoed similar sentiments, including liberal political analyst and ex-MP, Amr Hamzawy. He cited "unfair" political, constitutional and legal regulations that "are not compatible with democracy."
Before the presidential announcement the NSF demanded judicial guarantees and international oversight of the elections to ensure transparency. The Egyptian Popular Current, led by Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi, stated last week it will boycott the coming parliamentary elections, regardless of guarantees, in objection to the current "undemocratic regime." Sabbahi himself, a leading NSF figure, said that what would guarantee fair electoral competition is the formation of an "unbiased" government instead of the FJP-majority cabinet to supervise the elections, forming a committee that would redraft the disputed constitutional articles, dismissing the current president-appointed prosecutor-general, and empowering the judiciary to fully supervise the coming elections.

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