Egypt's Wafd party opts to take part in election

CAIRO- Egypt's liberal Wafd party has chosen to take part in upcoming parliamentary elections, its newspaper said on Saturday, ignoring calls from other opposition groups to boycott the poll.
Wafd party members voted at their general assembly on Friday, with 504 in favour of participating in the November election compared with 407 against, the daily Al-Wafd reported.

The move came despite earlier calls from within and outside the party to boycott the election due to the failure of the regime to meet demands for political reforms.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the former UN nuclear chief turned Egyptian reformer, appealed for a boycott earlier this month.
He was joined in his call by the small al-Ghad party, whose founder Ayman Nur was the only serious challenger to incumbent Hosni Mubarak in the 2005 presidential election.
ElBaradei returned to Egypt after stepping down as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in February to rally support for his movement which is calling for political and constitutional changes.
Egyptians are due to vote for a new parliament in November, although the date for the poll is yet to be confirmed. They are scheduled to return to the ballot box for a presidential election next year.
Legislative polls in 2005 saw the banned Muslim Brotherhood clinch 20 percent of seats in parliament by running as "independents," in a surprise win that commentators said rattled Mubarak's National Democratic Party.
The NDP did however win a sweeping majority of the seats but the election was marred by violence and allegations of fraud.
Although one of Egypt's oldest parties -- and once its most active -- the Wafd is considered peripheral with only a handful of members in parliament and lacking the popular support enjoyed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Mubarak, who has ruled since 1981, has not yet announced whether he will run for a fifth six-year term in 2011.

Sunday, September 19th 2010

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