CAIRO: The general secretariat of Al-Tagammu opposition party decided in a meeting Saturday to compete in the People’s Assembly (PA) elections due in November, even though a number of political parties and groups had earlier boycotted the polls.
“As long as we are a political party, we have to function among people; or else we would be merely a civil society group,” Al-Tagammu founding member Fathia El-Assal said Sunday.
“The public in the street need to know the truth; and they will not be able to learn it unless they listen to us,” she told Daily News Egypt.
According to El-Assal, also a prominent writer and columnist, “elections are the best opportunity for [political parties] to interact with the public … in a state where democracy is absent.”
Al-Tagammu will put forward 74 candidates, including nine women, to compete for the 508 seats of the Lower-House of the Parliament in most constituencies nationwide.
During a press conference following Saturday’s meeting, the party head Refaat El-Saeid stressed that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) must abide by the guarantees that the opposition parties had demanded to ensure the integrity of the elections.
El-Saeid further called on the Supreme Press Council to offer equal opportunities of media exposure to the candidates of opposition parties similar to that of the NDP’s.
Last week, the Democratic Front Party led by Osama El-Ghazaly Harb had withdrawn from the Quartet Bloc after other parties decided to participate in the elections.
The Quartet Bloc is comprised of four opposition parties including Al-Wafd, Al-Tagammu and Nasserist parties as well as the Democratic Front.
Al-Ghad opposition party was the first to boycott the elections earlier last month, though party head Ayman Nour did not rule out the possibility of members running as independent.
“But in this case the candidates will be not supported by the party,” Nour previously noted.
Former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei has spearheaded a call for boycotting the elections through the National Association for Change, which on Aug. 30 urged political parties and citizens not to participate in the elections.
Though it had earlier joined forces with the NAC, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group has also decided to join the race for the PA seats.
The MB had won 88 seats in the previous PA elections held in 2005 to become the largest opposition parliamentary bloc.