Egypt's Nour Party Will Participate in Parliamentary Vote

Egypt’s Salafi Nour Party said it would participate in parliamentary elections slated to begin in April, and called on other political groups to follow its lead.

The announcement came hours after President Mohamed Mursi invited political groups to meet and discuss their concerns about the four-stage vote set to begin April 22. The largely secular and youth activist opposition has said the call for the vote will only inflame the country’s current political crisis and has so far rejected his invitations to talk in a bid to bridge differences.

The ultraconservative Nour had backed the opposition in calls for a national unity government to replace Prime Minister Hisham Qandil’s, which critics say has failed to revive the economy or bring stability to the Arab world’s most populous nation.

Nour, which saw one of its members pushed out of the post of presidential adviser, supports the vote to “complete the building of state institutions to solve the country’s problems,” Bassam El-Zarqa, an official with the party, said in a televised press conference aired on Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr, the local branch of the pan-Arab satellite channel. El-Zarqa had quit his post as an aide to Mursi in solidarity to the dismissal of the other Nour official.

“We urge all political parties to participate in the upcoming elections,” he said, adding that they demanded “guarantees” over the vote’s integrity.