Egypt's opposition NSF to launch poll boycott awareness campaign

Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Mar 2013

Opposition coalition announces plan to promote parliamentary electoral boycott among voting public, blames Muslim Brotherhood 'militias' for ongoing violence in Port Said, Mansoura

Egypt's opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) umbrella group on Tuesday announced plans to launch a public-awareness campaign aimed at promoting its recent decision to boycott parliamentary polls slated for next month.

Last week, the NSF declared that it would boycott the elections, claiming that legislation regulating the electoral process was unconstitutional – basing its assertions on a recent ruling by Egypt’s High Constitutional Court – and that the government had failed to provide guarantees for free and transparent polling.

At a Tuesday press conference, Ahmed Said, head of the liberal Free Egyptians party (a sub-grouping of the NSF), reiterated that the front’s boycott decision was “final.”

The press conference came amid reports that the liberal Wafd Party, another NSF sub-group, was thinking about breaking with the front’s leadership and contesting the upcoming elections.

The NSF’s Said went on to condemn ongoing political violence in Port Said and Mansoura, accusing Muslim Brotherhood “militias” of assaulting and kidnapping protesters in the two restive cities.

The cities of Egypt’s Suez Canal (Port Said, Suez and Ismailia) have witnessed violent protests and clashes since 26 January, when 21 Port Said residents were sentenced to death for their roles in last year’s Port Said stadium disaster.

On Monday evening, fresh clashes broke out in Port Said, where a man was reportedly shot in the head and the city's security directorate was set on fire by anti-government protesters.

Last week, the violence spread to the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, which has since witnessed intense clashes between protesters and police.

Egypt’s second post-Mubarak parliamentary polls are set to kick off on 22 April. They will be held in four phases and wrap up in June.

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