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Egypt's Main Opposition Group To Boycott Parliamentary Elections

Egypt's main opposition group, the National Salvation Front (NSF), announced Tuesday that it has decided to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections due to concerns that they would not be free and fair.

The development comes just days after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi announced that the country's parliamentary elections would be held in four stages, beginning on April 22 and ending in late June.

Soon after President Morsi made the announcement, NSF leader Mohamed El Baradei had called for the boycotting the parliamentary elections, describing them as "act of deception" by the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.

NSF spokesman Sameh Ashour told reporters on Tuesday that the party leadership had unanimously decided to endorse El Baradei's call in wake of the recent adoption a new law that allegedly supports the Islamists.

"There can be no elections without a law that guarantees the fairness of the election process and a government that can implement such a law and be trusted by the people," he said at the press conference.

The developments come amid unrest, insecurity and a crippling economic crisis in Egypt, which is currently divided between the Islamist parties that came to power in last year's election and the more secular Opposition.

The Opposition accuses Morsi of being autocratic since taking office and his parent Muslim Brotherhood party of pushing through a disputed Constitution. It insists that the new charter favors the Islamists and fails to protect the rights of women and the country's minority Christian community.

Critics of the new Constitution allege that Morsi as well as his Muslim Brotherhood betrayed the 2011 Egyptian revolution by attempting to monopolize power after their electoral victory the following year.

Morsi is the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) — the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was sworn in as Egypt's first civilian and freely-elected President on June 30, 2012. His election followed a popular revolt that ultimately forced autocratic President Hosni Mubarak to step down in February 2011 after handing over power to the country's military.

Incidentally, the Islamist parties, including the FJP, had secured majority of the seats in the lower house of the parliament in the January 2012 elections. But the Supreme court dissolved that assembly after finding that political party nominees had contested from seats reserved for independents. The Islamist-dominated upper house has been exercising legislative power in the absence of a lower house.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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