Egypt's NSF debating whether to boycott elections: Moussa

Ahram Online, Monday 25 Feb 2013

The main opposition grouping will announce its decision on whether to take part in April's parliamentary polls on Tuesday

Amr Moussa
Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's main opposition bloc the National Salvation Front (NSF) will meet on Tuesday evening to decide their official stance on participating in the parliamentary elections due in April, said leading NSF member Amr Moussa.

In an interview with Sky News TV channel, Moussa, the founder of the Conference Party, added that he intends to boycott the elections. However, he believes that if boycotting takes place, it should be collective.

Mohamed ElBaradei, prominent critic of President Mohamed Morsi and founding member the NSF, also called for an election boycott, saying on Saturday that he will not be "part of an act of deception."

Other opposition figures have echoed similar sentiments, including liberal political analyst and former MP Amr Hamzawy who cited "unfair" political, constitutional and legal regulations that "contradict with democracy."

The Egyptian Popular Current, led by Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi who is also a member of NSF, stated last week it will boycott the coming parliamentary elections, regardless of guarantees, in objection to the current "undemocratic regime."

In a televised interview on Sunday night, President Mohamed Morsi invited Egyptian political parties and movements to a "national dialogue" at the presidential palace on Monday, 25 February, to discuss "guarantees for fair and transparent parliamentary elections," which will be held from 22 April to 24 June.

In his statements, Moussa said that it is essential to propose real guarantees and a clear agenda for serious work, rather than simply conducting meetings.

He added that the NSF are demanding the formulation of a more balanced cabinet, and that the High Constitutional Court (HCC) amend the electoral law to include a number of articles initially proposed by the HCC but not included by the Shura Council in the final draft.

The head of the Egyptian Conference Party also rejected the idea that "the opposition is a weak entity." He said that there is an increasing consensus between the demands of the National Salvation Front and other political parties such as the Salafist Nour Party.

"The opposition should be a real one in a democratic context, and not a cartoon opposition or a product for elections that is not completely integrated," he said.
Moussa also clarified that the NSF did not call for civil disobedience, but said that the widespread campaigns of civil disobedience currently taking place in a number of Egyptian governorates are proof of the government's poor crisis management.

"I don’t think that a responsible ruling entity would lead the country to a revolution of the hungry, even though there are a lot of Egyptians who are afraid of this," he stated.

Protesters began carrying out a campaign of civil disobedience in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura on Sunday, blocking the main roads into the city and the central governorate building.

A civil disobedience campaign has been taking place in the Suez Canal city of Port Said for the last eight days.

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