Political parties started to take official stances regarding the upcoming parliamentary elections, with the Al-Nour Party set to participate and the Al-Dostour Party insisting on boycotting the elections scheduled for 22 April.
The Al-Nour Party announced their decision to participate during a press conference held on Monday. The party explained their decision by stating Egypt needs all its institutions in order to end the current transitional period and resolve the ongoing political crisis.
Bassem Al-Zarqa, resigned presidential advisor and board member of Al-Nour, claimed that democratically elected institutions are necessary to put an end to the current polarised political climate, adding that several conditions should exist for elections to be fair and successful.
Al-Zarqa called the government to provide guarantees for fair elections. He stated that ministers providing services related to elections should be dismissed if they are proven to be affiliated with any political group. “If the government agreed on our initiative calling for new government, we would not have this problem right now,” said Al-Zarqa, reffering to his party’s reconciliation initiative, which was proposed last month and called for establishing a new government and replacing the current prosecutor general.
The party’s leading figure mentioned that Egypt’s administrators, including governors, should work independently from any political affiliation. He added that those figures, in addition the whole elections process, should be subjected to judicial supervision. “Our constitution states the procedures for a proper judicial supervision and interpretation.”
Al-Zarqa said his party is open to electoral coalitions with all political parties that support implementing Islamic Shari’a law. He explained that coalitions cannot take place between parties with different ideologies because this would deceive and confuse voters.
Al-Zarqa refused to comment on the crisis of the dismissed presidential advisor Khaled Alam Eddin. “This conference focuses only on parliamentary elections.”
Sha’aban Abdel Aleem, deputy secretary general of Al-Nour, said the party would be running for all the parliamentary seats. He added that his party might form a coalition with an Islamist party to run independently.
The Al-Wasat and Al-Watan Islamist parties also announced their participation in the elections. However, they did not yet decide whether they will run independently or form any electoral coalition.
The Al-Dostour Party decided to boycott the elections, announcing its decision in a statement issued on Sunday night. The party stated that the reason behind their decision is the government’s ignorance of opposition political forces’ demands.
The demands included amending the electoral law, forming a new government and appointing a new prosecutor general.
The statement added that the call for elections came at a time when protests are spreading across Egypt, while the Ministry of Interior is still dealing with them in a manner that violates human rights, according to the statement.
“The Al-Dostour Party has nothing to do but boycotting elections, in terms of voting and nominating candidates, and calling all political groups and Egyptian citizens to boycott it and not to recognise the parliament that would result from it,” the statement said.
The statement mentioned that the party would present a recommendation to boycott elections to the National Salvation Front (NSF), which remains undecided on participating in or boycotting the elections.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the Al-Dostour Party’s chairman and leading figure of the NSF, announced his refusal of participating in the parliamentary elections, calling on President Morsi to postpone them. ElBaradei explained during an interview with BBC on Monday, that holding elections during the current period would lead to instability and chaos, which could make it necessary for the military to intervene.
ElBaradei stated that elections are part of the democratic apparatus of Egypt, which requires a democratic constitution and an independent judiciary and media. He added that such institutions are currently absent in Egypt.
The Al-Dostour Party head questioned the state’s ability to hold elections with regard to its poor economic status.
He added the NSF will likely boycott the elections.
The NSF announced on Monday that leading figures of the front will hold a meeting on Tuesday, where they would discuss the elections.
Ahmed El-Enany, head of the youth committee for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), announced his party’s intention to participate in the elections. However, he affirmed the party would act in accordance with the NSF’s decision, if they decide to boycott elections.
The Strong Egypt Party has not yet announced its official decision concerning the elections.