Egypt’s main opposition National Salvation Front announced on Tuesday that it will boycott parliamentary elections set to start on April 22, saying there must first be a law guaranteeing a free and fair vote.
The National Salvation Front, an umbrella alliance of liberal and leftist groups, made the decision at a meeting in Cairo, spokesman Sameh Ashour said.
President Mohamed Mursi has called the four-stage parliamentary election beginning in late April.
Samih Ashour, head of the Lawyers’ Syndicate and a spokesman for the front, said the decision was taken unanimously among opposition leaders. He accused the Brotherhood movement of seeking “to kidnap Egypt politically and monopolize its institutions.
With Islamist parties including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party planning nationwide campaigns, boycotts by liberals and leftists will enhance the chances of the Islamists securing a commanding say in the new parliament.
The Popular Current, led by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy, also said it would boycott talks called by President Mohamed Mursi later on Tuesday to discuss guarantees for ensuring a free and fair vote, said Heba Yassin, a spokeswoman for the party.
“We will neither participate in the national dialogue nor in the elections,” she told Reuters. Sabahy came in a close third in Egypt’s first free presidential election last year.
The hardline Salafist Nour Party, the second biggest Islamist group, announced on Monday that it planned to take part.
The Dustour Party, a liberal group headed by Mohamed ElBaradei, has also decided to boycott the vote, to be held in four stages starting in late April.
Yassin of the Popular Current added: “This is to protest against the elections law that we did not participate in drafting, and about which our opinion was not taken. Also, we reject the continuation of Mursi’s oppressive policies that have led to nothing but more bloodshed and political problems.”