CAIRO: The executive bureau of Al-Wafd opposition party is considering boycotting the upcoming People’s Assembly (PA) elections in case the integrity of the polls is not guaranteed, Al-Wafd secretary general Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour said Tuesday.
Al-Wafd’s move came Sunday after the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) rejected a request to broadcast the party’s paid promotional television campaign.
One day later, Minister of Information Anas El-Fiqqi said in a statement that there are no bans on the promotional campaigns of political parties, but they must first be approved by the Supreme Electoral Commission.
“El-Fiqqi called me [himself] … and told me that I should present a request to air the campaign before the [Supreme Electoral Commission] for approval,” Abdel-Nour told Daily News Egypt. “[After our conversation] I went through the Law of Practicing Political Rights and found that the commission has nothing to do with this issue.”
Al-Wafd party described the ban in a statement on Monday as an indicator of the government’s “lack of commitment towards holding fair elections that offer equal opportunities for all parties.”
“The campaign does not promote Al-Wafd party. It rather calls on citizens to join political parties and be active voters,” Abdel-Nour explained.
The party further accused the authorities of deliberately imposing obstacles on opposition candidates.
According to Abdel-Nour, the nomination procedures require a candidate to present a certificate that proves that he or she is an Egyptian citizen.
“To acquire such a document, a candidate must present his or her birth certificate and those of the father, the uncles and [all siblings], which is quite difficult to facilitate in a few days,” Abdel-Nour stated. “Who do they think they are fooling?”
Abdel-Nour also accused the government of favoring candidates of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
“Municipalities have allocated … public buildings for the NDP to hold its meetings … and for the party’s candidates to hold electoral campaigns and conferences … at a time when our TV ads are banned,” Abdel-Nour said.
“We accepted to run for the PA race based on the fact that the NDP would be wise enough to at least maintain the democratic appearance of the elections,” adding that even if that does not happen, “I think we better quit.”
“The NDP is the referee and the competitor at the same time.”
The party decided to participate in the elections scheduled for Sept. 17, although 43 percent of the general assembly members called for an election boycott.