ElBaradei urges Egypt’s parties to boycott upcoming parliament and presidential elections

Monday, April 12, 2010

Egypt opposition figure urges election boycott

CAIRO — An emerging opposition leader in Egypt and former head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency has called for a boycott of the upcoming elections, an Egyptian activist said Monday.

Mohammed ElBaradei could not be reached for comment but his call would be the toughest challenge he has yet to issue to Mubarak’s regime since he started his campaign for political reform last month.

Ibrahim Nawar, a senior member of the opposition National Front Party said ElBaradei made his remarks during a meeting with party members Monday to discuss political strategy.

Nawar said ElBaradei called for the boycott to “deprive” President Hosni Mubarak’s regime of legitimacy.

“Let them be exposed naked before the whole world,” Nawar quoted ElBaradei as saying.

Egypt will have a parliamentary election this fall and a presidential poll next year.

However, registered opposition parties, which receive considerable government funding are not expected to head ElBaradei’s call. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamic opposition movement is also expected to participate.

A Nobel laureate, ElBaradei has seen a wave of support from reformists who see him as a potential challenger to Mubarak.

Rather than actually run for president, ElBaradei has turned his focus to promoting electoral reforms and constitutional amendments that would allow a credible rival candidate to run in next year’s presidential election.

He has been meeting with various political groups after nearly three decades abroad to urge them for action. Over 100,000 people have joined a Facebook group supporting his candidacy.

Existing restrictions make it practically impossible for independents or candidates from new parties to run, meaning that ElBaradei’s chances would be dim without long-sought constitutional amendments.

Egypt has been under emergency law, which severely restricts civil rights, for 29 years during the rule of Mubarak, who is rumored to stand for re-election in 2011.

April 12, 2010: 3:27 pm

boycott is very difficult for this country.

will not be displayed