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Egypt opposition leader calls for election boycott

Mohamed ElBaradei, left, shown  with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi last year, calls for an election boycott.

Associated Press (2012)

Mohamed ElBaradei, left, shown with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi last year, calls for an election boycott.

CAIRO — Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called Saturday for a boycott of parliamentary elections, drawing immediate criticism from some within his movement who said it was a hasty decision.

The dispute showed the fragility of a fairly new opposition front forged after the deeply fragmented movement found little success at the polls since it led the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Opposition infighting would only help ensure that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group remains Egypt's dominant political force after the next vote.

"(I) called for parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy. Today I repeat my call, will not be part of an act of deception," Nobel laureate ElBaradei, who leads the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), wrote on his Twitter account.

The comment reiterated a frequently heard opposition sentiment that democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi is acting like Mubarak.

Elections under Mubarak's three-decade rule were widely rigged and parliament was dominated by members of his ruling party.

Morsi's Brotherhood accused the opposition of running away from the challenge.

The deputy head of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Essam el-Erian, responded to ElBaradei's call on his Facebook page.

"Running away from a popular test only means that some want to assume executive authority without a democratic mandate," he said of the opposition. "We've never yet known them to face any election or serious test."

The mutual recriminations reflected a new escalation in political tensions that could spill into even wider strikes and protests ahead of the elections.

Egypt opposition leader calls for election boycott 02/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 10:22pm]
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