Egyptian presidential candidate Abul-Ezz El-Hariri, who is running on the Socialist Popular Alliance Party's ticket, slammed recent moves by Parliament Speaker Saad El-Katatni on Tuesday, accusing the Muslim Brotherhood – of which El-Katatni is a leading member – of encouraging a "military coup."
"The Brotherhood is pushing Egypt's armed forces to stage a military coup because of the group's hasty decision to suspend parliamentary activity in protest against the government's refusal to resign," El-Hariri said while campaigning in Egypt's northern Sharqiya Governorate.
El-Hariri described El-Katatni's decision earlier this week to temporarily suspend parliamentary activity as "faulty," since the speaker of parliament had "failed to discuss the decision with all MPs beforehand and had only consulted with MPs representing [the Brotherhood's] Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)."
He went on to assert that the Brotherhood should have issued an ultimatum to Egypt's ruling military council laying out its grievances before unilaterally taking such a momentous step.
El-Hariri also claimed that the Brotherhood, which controls almost half of the seats in Egypt's first post-Mubarak parliament, was "in alliance with the ousted Mubarak regime." To support his contention, El-Hariri pointed to 2005 and 2010 parliamentary elections, when the Brotherhood refrained from fielding parliamentary candidates against leading Mubarak-era figures, including Ahmed Ezz, Zakareya Azmy and Fathi Sorour.
A prominent socialist MP with a long history of championing workers' rights, El-Hariri is currently vying for Egypt's presidency. The Socialist Popular Alliance Party nominated him on 7 March as the party's presidential candidate.
Egypt's presidential elections are slated to take place on 23 and 24 May, with a runoff vote scheduled for 16 and 17 June if no single candidate wins an outright majority. Egypt's next president will be officially named on 21 June.