Mohamed ElBaradei, a senior member of Egypt’s opposition, urged supporters to boycott parliamentary elections set to begin in April, while President Mohamed Mursi indicated the voting schedule may be changed because it coincides with Easter for the minority Coptic Christians.
ElBaradei, a leader in the National Salvation Front coalition and head of the Constitution Party, made the call today via his Twitter account. The Front had earlier threatened a boycott unless voting was delayed to allow for tensions to ease, the economy to recover and the constitution to be amended to reverse measures the opposition says were imposed by Islamists.
“Called for parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy,” ElBaradei said on Twitter. “Today I repeat my call, will not be part of an act of deception.”
Mursi, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, has resisted demands for a national unity government. Islamist parties welcomed Mursi’s decree two days ago to hold a four-stage parliamentary election starting April 27 and ending in June, with the new assembly to gather on July 6. The president, who faces a rift with some of his Islamist allies, had expressed hope that the vote would end the unrest and violence that has spooked investors and damaged the economy since the uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Christians welcomed remarks Mursi made today, reported by the state-run Middle East News Agency, that he’s studying a change in the election schedule to accommodate the Easter holidays.