CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group has not quit the National Association for Change (NAC) after its recent decision to participate in the upcoming People’s Assembly (PA) elections, MB MP Mohsen Rady told Daily News Egypt.
“Competing over PA seats does not mean a separation from NAC. [Any] political interaction [always] entails different viewpoints,” Rady said on Monday.
Former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei has spearheaded a call for boycotting the elections through NAC, which on Aug. 30 urged political parties and citizens not to participate in the elections.
“We would weaken ourselves if we boycotted the elections. That’s why we found that participation is more serious [and would help us] face tyranny … and corruption … [especially that] most political parties will take part in the elections,” Rady argued.
“But this does not mean that we will stop cooperating with NAC in confronting dictatorship and [seeking reform],” he added.
Last June, the MB joined forces with ElBaradei. So far, the group has collected about 90 percent of approximately 1 million signatures on ElBaradei’s petition calling for reform.
On Saturday, the MB announced that it will contest up to 30 percent of the PA seats.
The group’s decision to join the race for PA seats was preceded by a number of opposition parties also deciding to run for the polls.
However, last week, 20 MB members singed a statement indicating their rejection of the MB being part of the elections.
“Running for the coming elections is a crime against the nation,” MB member in Alexandria Ibrahim El-Za’farany told Daily News Egypt.
“Such elections will be nothing but a farce, especially with the absence of [direct] judiciary supervision … [and the dominance of] the Supreme Electoral Commission,” El-Za’farany added.
According to El-Za’farany, what is dangerous about the next elections is that the new PA will be the one that elects the president in 2011. The election process, he said, would lead to inheritance of or rotation of power within the same regime.
Rady believes that the move of El-Za’farany and his colleagues is ineffective.
“Even if there are 20 MB members who signed a boycott statement, they represent a minority. A total of 98 percent of the MB Consultative Council unanimously agreed on running for the polls,” Rady argued.
“They must abide by the majority’s call.”
The MB had won 88 seats in the previous PA elections held in 2005 to become the largest opposition parliamentary bloc. They ran as independents since the group is legally banned. –Additional reporting by Heba Fahmy