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Brotherhood's FJP slams calls for elections boycott

Shortly after leading opposition figure ElBaradei calls for boycott of Egypt's parliamentary elections, spokesman of Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party pushes in opposite direction

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Feb 2013
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Calls from Egypt's opposition to boycott this year's parliamentary elections is considered to be "political bankruptcy" as the voter bloc that will cast ballot for opposition groups is negligible, stated Mohamed Zidan, spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).

"Opposition forces who are calling to boycott the parliamentary elections believe there is no way they would assume power through ballot boxes, but only through sit-ins, strikes and extreme polarisation," he told Al-Ahram Arabic-language news website

Zidan's statement was released in the wake of calls by Constitution Party head Mohamed ElBaradei to take no part in the elections, slated to start in April. The prominent opposition figure stated in English via Twitter that he "called for a parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy."

"Today, I repeat my call, and will not be part of an act of deception," said ElBaradei, founding member of the main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front (NSF) which is yet to announce its official stance on the elections.

The 2010 parliamentary elections were the last to take place under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, whose rule ended by a revolution the next year. These polls saw blatant violations in favour of the then ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

Opposition forces, these days, have been complaining they were sidelined in talks over setting elections laws and timeframe.

The NSF demanded pre-conditions for dialogue with Morsi including: the appointment of a new prosecutor-general in accordance with the constitution and judicial independence; amending Egypt's new constitution; postponing upcoming parliamentary polls, and guaranteeing judicial and international oversight of upcoming elections.

Morsi announced the election plan on Thursday amid support from Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the group he hails from, and the ultra conservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Construction and Development Party. Morsi changed the dates of the four stages Saturday in response to Coptic calls to avoid voting during Easter holiday.

Zidan, for his side, commented on Saturday: "There is only one way to see transition and that is through building the state's legislative and constitutional institutions … the only way in democracy is elections."

He also stressed that an independent judicial committee will be responsible for overseeing the elections, quashing fears over orchestration. "Calls for a boycott split the nation into two," Zidan said.

The first round of voting will be held on 22 and 23 April and will take place in Cairo, Beheira, El-Minya, Port Said and North Sinai. If runoffs are necessary, they will take place on 29 and 30 April.

 The second round will be held on 11 and 12 May in Giza, Alexandria, Sohag, Beni Suef, Aswan, Suez, Red Sea and New Valley. If runoffs are necessary there, they will take place on 19 and 20 May.

The third round of voting will be held on 28 and 29 May in Daqahliyah, Qaluibiya, Menufiya, Qena, Damietta, Luxor, Matrouh and South Sinai. If runoffs are necessary there, they will take place on 5 and 6 June.

The final round is scheduled to take place on 15 and 16 June in Sharqiya, Gharbiya, Assiut, Kafr El-Sheikh, Fayoum and Ismailia. If runoffs are necessary there, they will take place on 23 and 24 June.

The elections are for the House of Representatives (the lower legislative chamber of parliament, formerly known as the People's Assembly).

The previous People's Assembly was dismantled last year after the High Constitutional Court (HCC) declared the law that regulated last winter's elections unconstitutional.

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