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CAIRO: An alliance of Egyptian opposition parties decided yesterday to boycott parliamentary elections in protest at an election law they say favours the Muslim Brotherhood, increasing the chance that Islamists will sweep the vote.
The boycott by liberal and leftist parties opposed to President Mohammed Mursi aims to undermine the legitimacy of the vote and shows the polarisation that has defined Egyptian politics since Hosni Mubarak was toppled two years ago.
It raises the prospect of an election fought mostly between Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and more hardline Islamist groups such as the Salafi Nour Party. The vote is to be held in four stages between late April and June.
The National Salvation Front (NSF) — an array of liberal and leftist parties struggling to compete with the Islamists — said there should be no elections for the lower house of parliament without a law guaranteeing fair polls.
“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,” said Sameh Ashour, a spokesman for the NSF, who also called for “real independence of the judiciary”.
Seeking to convince the opposition to take part, Mursi invited them to talks yesterday to address concerns about the vote, but the alliance declined to attend. “We tell President Mursi: talk with yourself and your party,” Ashour said. Mursi went ahead with the talks anyway. “I hope these elections will be fully fair,” he told the televised meeting attended by Islamists, smaller parties and independents. Reuters