Field Marshal Tantawi delivers his address to the nation Nov. 22 (photo: Reuters)
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party has pulled out of next week's parliamentary elections and demanded a swift transfer of power from the ruling military council.
In a statement released today, the party said that Egypt is currently going through a dangerous phase because the military council insists on monopolising power.
The party also described the upcoming elections, set for 28 November, as nothing more than a “show.”
“We refuse to participate in this gamble of lives and the future of this nation and to partake in this show of elections, which will divert attention away from the legitimate demands of the revolutionaries,” the party's statement read.
The party blamed the country’s various political forces and their inability to reach a consensus on the make up of a civil council to govern in the interim and meet the demands of revolutionaries.
“After nine months it is clear to everyone that the military council is leading the country into a catastrophe and the blood flowing now in Tahrir Square is just the latest atrocity in a series of crimes and mistakes made by the council,” the statement said. “The last few days have proven to us that the upcoming elections will not be free or safe amidst this security vacuum and unprecedented tension as a result of the Ministry of Interior forces and military police repressing the citizens in Tahrir Square and in other governorates.”
The statement went on to say that the military council are not able to offer sufficient guarantees that the elections will be transparent. Consequently, "we cannot entrust the military council to administer these elections where citizens can freely choose who represents them.”
According to the party, transparent elections can only be conducted if a National Salvation government is set up with the approval of Egypt's political factions, including Islamists, liberals, leftists and nationalists. The National Salvation government, the party says, should assist the military council administer the transitional period and supervise the upcoming elections. They also stressed that they put they would like potential presidential candidates Mohamed ElBaradei and Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh tasked with forming such a government.
“Our party wants the elections to be held as soon as possible... but we don’t want to put the country though unsuccessful elections or have its results questioned because of [vote] rigging and violence.”
Earlier in the week, the party was heavily criticised for meeting with the military's chief-of-staff Sami Anan while police forces were attacking protesters around the country.