Egypt's Socialist Alliance boycotts parliamentary elections

Passant Darwish , Saturday 7 Feb 2015

The party of Shaimaa El-Sabagh, killed 24 January, will boycott upcoming parliamentary elections after a list of its demands have gone unmet

Photo of the peaceful march heading to Tahrir Square on 24 January 2015 (Photo: Aswat Masriya)

Egypt's Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) has decided to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections after a list of its demands, put forth following the killing of member Shaimaa El-Sabagh, was not met.

Demands include sacking the interior minister, reforming the interior ministry, amending a controversial protest law, releasing all those detained for violating the protest law, and conducting a transparent investigation in El-Sabagh's killing.

El-Sabagh, a labour activist and a leading member in the party, was shot dead 24 January in a peaceful march heading to Tahrir Square to commemorate fallen protesters of the 25 January 2011 uprising.

The Socialist Popular Alliance Party accused the police of "premeditatedly murdering" her.

Subsequently, the police briefly arrested the vice president of the party, Zohdi El-Shamy, who was also present in the peaceful march, on "suspicion" of being involved in El-Sabagh's murder.

Investigations by National Security cleared El-Shamy.

Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim said that if investigations proved that a police officer was responsible for El-Sabagh's shooting he would personally hand him over to court.

Following El-Sabagh's killing, the Democratic Current, an umbrella group of liberal and leftist parties including the SPAP, who intended to run in parliamentary elections in the same list, drew up a list of demands to run in the elections.

It is still unclear if other parties in the Democratic Current will also boycott the parliamentary elections.

But Khaled Dawoud, spokesman of the left-of-centre Constitution Party, also in the Democratic Current, told Ahram Online that Al-Karama, Al-Adl and Free Egypt parties, all in the Democratic Current, decided to continue running for the parliamentary elections.

The Constitution Party, according to Dawoud, will hold a general meeting Saturday to discuss the possibility of boycotting the elections, and the Democratic Current will further discuss the issue in a Monday meeting.

Dawoud said that all parties in the Democratic Current, even if they opt for running in the elections, know that the political atmosphere is not "encouraging to build a democracy," in light of El-Sabagh's killing, the sentencing of political activists to prison, and President El-Sisi's unfulfilled promise of releasing political prisoners.

"The president should help in creating a proper atmosphere for the elections and this is not happening," Dawoud stated.

The Popular Current, also in Democratic Current, announced earlier that it will not run in the elections.

Other political parties and groups, including Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh's Strong Egypt Party and the Revolutionary Socialists, will also boycott the elections.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place over two stages in March and April.

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