Egypt: Muslim Brothers, others threaten election boycott

Group of 60 political parties demands military rulers enact law effectively preventing many Mubarak supporters from running for office.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders 311 (R) (photo credit: Amr Dalsh / Reuters)
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders 311 (R)
(photo credit: Amr Dalsh / Reuters)
The political wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and 59 other parties and groups threatened to boycott forthcoming elections unless the country's military rulers agreed to amend election laws by Sunday, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.
The joint statement said the parties wanted the military council to change an article in the election law that bars political parties from fielding candidates for seats allocated to individuals, and to activate a law which criminalizes profiteering from political office.
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This law would effectively prevent many supporters of ousted president Hosni Mubarak from running for office.
Egypt's parliamentary election will start on Nov.28, the state's news agency MENA reported on Tuesday after state newspapers had previously said it would begin on Nov. 21.
The election is expected to be held over three stages, which could take several weeks.
Egypt's military rulers agreed to amend election rules last week, state-run media said, but some politicians say the changes still leave too much scope for supporters of Mubarak to seek parliamentary seats.
Political parties have been pressuring the army council to base the vote exclusively on the party-based proportional list system, saying allowing individuals to seek election would enable remnants of the ousted regime to use money and tribalism to win in polls due to start in November.
An Egyptian court in April ordered the dissolution of Mubarak's National Democratic Party, meeting a demand of the pro-democracy movement whose protests ended his 30-year authoritarian rule.
Al-Ahram newspaper said the military council has approved raising the proportion of seats contested using party lists to two thirds, up from 50 percent now, leaving the rest open to individual candidates.
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