Egyptian MP mulls poll boycott

A prominent Egyptian opposition MP is contemplating to pullout of presidential elections in September because of restrictive conditions set for potential candidates.

    Ayman Nour heads the opposition al-Ghad Party

    Ayman Nour, who heads the opposition al-Ghad (Tomorrow) Party, is one of a handful of challengers to President Hosni Mubarak in this year's presidential race.

    Nour also accused the ruling party of trying to assassinate him in a mob attack on Thursday that killed one of his supporters and injured 20 others.

    "It was a real assassination attempt. Thugs, criminals, police opened fire," Nour said at a news conference.

    Nour alleged an angry mob had attacked his convoy of three buses and seven cars when he was going to inaugurate a new office for his party. He said the crowd attacked the vehicles with sticks, hurled stones and glasses filled with acid at the buses, and fired shots into the air.

    Police complaint

    Nour said he had filed a police complaint against Mubarak, as leader of the ruling party, and security authorities for the incident in Sharqiya, 80km northeast of the capital.

    Protests against President
    Mubarak have been growing

    Nour said tough conditions set by the ruling party for independent politicians who wanted to run in presidential elections were "impossible and crippling".

    He said he might pull out of the race in solidarity with the independents.

    "I am considering withdrawing ... . If leaving the stage will benefit the democratic issue in Egypt, we will leave it," he said.

    The elections this year will be the first with more than one candidate, after a surprise call earlier this year by Mubarak to amend the constitution to allow a more open poll.

    But the new regulations outlined on Thursday by the ruling National Democratic Party, seem to limit the chance of an independent candidate winning approval to run for the presidency.

    Restrictive rules

    Under new rules, independents must get at least 300 recommendations from elected lawmakers.

    "I am considering withdrawing. If leaving the stage will benefit the democratic issue in Egypt, we will leave it"

    Ayman Nour
    Opposition MP 

    Parliament and the municipalities are dominated by ruling party members who are loyal to Mubarak.

    The measures will ensure that the members of the anti-Mubarak Kifaya (Enough) movement and the Muslim Brotherhood - which would both have to field independent candidates as they are not recognised political parties - cannot run for president.

    The amendment, which includes the rules about independents and other details, is set for a parliament vote in mid-May.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.