CAIRO: Egypt’s opposition threatened yesterday to boycott upcoming parliamentary polls if President Mohammed Mursi does not find a “comprehensive solution” to the crisis gripping the country. The National Salvation Front (NSF), the main coalition of parties and movements opposing the ruling Islamists, called for the creation of a “national salvation” government, saying that otherwise it will “not participate in the next parliamentary elections”. The NSF called for the formation of a new national salvation government, a committee of judges to amend to constitution it deems “void” and the firing of the prosecutor general appointed by Mursi. If these conditions are not met “in the coming days”, the NSF “will call on the Egyptian people to protest on Friday to bring down the constitution” and call for early presidential elections. A new Islamist-drafted constitution was adopted in December, but the opposition says it fails to protect key rights.
MPs vote to bar Maliki from third term
BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliament adopted a measure yesterday that would bar Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki from a third term, a move his allies quickly dismissed as unconstitutional. A total of 170 MPs of 242 present backed the move to limit the president, premier and parliament speaker to two terms, an official said, meaning Maliki could not retain his post after national elections next year. But Maliki’s supporters insisted the motion was not legally-binding and would be struck down by Iraq’s highest courts. The Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, the main Kurdish alliance and the movement loyal to powerful Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr — all members of Maliki’s national unity government — were the measure’s principal backers, said the official. The move appeared to target Maliki, as the Speaker of parliament is a member of Iraqiya and Iraq’s president is part of the Kurdish alliance. Iraq’s constitution does not set term limits for those posts.
Bahrain reconciliation talks by early Feb
DUBAI: Bahrain expects talks with the opposition aimed at breaking nearly two years of political deadlock to start next week or early in February, a cabinet member said in comments published yesterday. The state has been in turmoil since protests erupted in early 2011. Wefaq and five other pro-democracy groups have said they are ready to attend the talks but have demanded the government show seriousness in addressing their demands, including for a constitutional democracy with an elected government rather than one appointed by the king. “The Information Affairs Minister Samira Rajab expected the dialogue talks to start very soon ... by the end of this month or early next month, at the latest,” Bahrain’s Arabic language Akhbar Al Khaleej newspaper said. Agencies