CAIRO — One of Egypt's leading democracy advocates on Wednesday slammed recent parliamentary elections as a farce and warned about the possibility of violence if authorities try to suppress popular rallies for reform.
Mohamed ElBaradei — the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been at the helm of a burgeoning opposition movement in Egypt — also reiterated his call for a boycott of next year's presidential elections.
"We should not be part of a farce," he said in a video message he posted on YouTube and his Facebook page. "I hope you boycott elections by not running or voting."
"The regime must understand that it is our right to march in peaceful demonstrations to demand change. It must understand, if we are prevented, we will resort to peaceful civil disobedience," he said, adding that, "if we are not allowed, the Egyptian people will have no choice but — I hope this will not happen — there will be violence."
Local and international observers have accused the authorities of manipulating the Nov. 28 balloting through vote-rigging and violence. Results showed a crushing victory for the ruling party.
"Elections were the straw that broke the camel's back; it proved that the regime is incapable and not ready (to carry out reforms), and doesn't understand that it is impossible for the status quo to remain unchanged," ElBaradei said.