ElBaradei calls for Egypt election boycott: report

CAIRO- Mohamed ElBaradei, the former UN nuclear chief turned Egyptian reformer, has called for a boycott of upcoming elections and warned of civil disobedience if demands for political reform are not met, an independent daily reported on Tuesday.
"We will boycott the upcoming election because anyone taking part will be acting against the will of the people," ElBaradei said, according to the Shorouk newspaper.

ElBaradei calls for Egypt election boycott: report
Egypt is due to go to the polls for a parliamentary election in November ahead of a presidential election next year.
ElBaradei, 68, has ruled out standing in next year's presidential election unless the constitution, which places restrictions on independent candidates, is reformed.
Veteran President Hosni Mubarak, 82, has not yet said whether he will stand again, but is widely believed to be grooming his son Gamal for the succession.
Mubarak has ruled since 1981, and allowed limited political reforms over the past decade. He won the country's first multi-candidate presidential election in 2005 by a landslide in a vote observers said was marred by irregularities.
Shorouk quoted ElBaradei as saying that he will press on with a campaign to gather signatures "for change" before organising "peaceful protests" for reform.
The third stage of his campaign will involve "(civil) disobedience as long as the government fails to agree to calls for change," ElBaradei added.
Shorouk said ElBaradei made the remarks on Monday evening, during an iftar -- the meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The next few months will be "decisive" for reform, ElBaradei reportedly said at the gathering.
"The decision to take to the streets if the regime does not agree to demands for change will be... the beginning of the end of this regime," he said.
He accused the regime of preventing him from airing his opinion publicly.
"An Arab television station wanted to interview me but the authorities refused to give the team a visa," he said without naming the channel.
He also said he had had "difficulties" organising Monday's iftar.
On Saturday ElBaradei accused the government of publishing pictures of his daughter in a swimsuit and at an event in which alcohol was served, in order to tarnish his image in the increasingly conservative Muslim society.
The ruling National Democratic Party, however, condemned the publication of the photos as "dishonourable."
The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency galvanised the country's opposition after he returned to Egypt in February following 12 years in charge of the UN watchdog.

Wednesday, September 8th 2010

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