Brotherhood to run in Egypt polls

Main opposition group announces plan to contest November's legislative vote, despite calls by some for a boycott.

    A small group of political activists, led by potential presidential candidate ElBaradei, have called for a boycott [Reuters]

    Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood has announced it will participate in the country's upcoming legislative elections.

    Mohamed Badie, the head of the Brotherhood, told a news conference in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, on Saturday that the group will contest 30 per cent of the seats in the November vote.

    He said the Brotherhood will announce its final list of candidates in a few weeks' time.

    The Brotherhood, the most organised opposition group in Egypt, won 20 per cent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament in the country's last elections in 2005, but is not officially recognised as a political party.

    Since its victory, it has come under increased scrutiny amid accusations of political pressure from the Egyptian government.

    Divided opposition

    The announcement comes after a small but vocal group of Egyptian political activists called on Egyptian opposition groups to boycott the polls.

    The opposition al-Ghad party became the second political entity to announce a boycott of the election, after former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei, a potential candidate for president, said the elections would be rigged and anyone participating in the process would be going against the national will.

    A boycott of parliamentary elections could raise the stakes for a presidential vote in 2011, analysts have said.

    Hosni Mubarak, 82, the Egyptian president, has so far kept his intentions unknown about running again, but many Egyptians believe he will try to lever his son Gamal, 46, into power if he does not.

    The liberal al-Ghad party hopes that a united opposition to the vote would deny legitimacy to the ruling party.

    But with the Brotherhood's announcement on Saturday, and nationalist liberal Wafd party saying previously that it will participate in the upcoming elections, Egypt's opposition force remains divided.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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