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Updated: September 8, 2010 18:28 IST

ElBaradei calls for election boycott, but opposition split

DPA
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Former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Dr. Mohammed El Baradei has emerged as a major opposition figure in Egypt, challenging President Mubarak's policies.
Hindu Former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Dr. Mohammed El Baradei has emerged as a major opposition figure in Egypt, challenging President Mubarak's policies.

Egypt’s opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei has called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary election, media reports Wednesday said.

In his latest remarks, ElBaradei said a boycott of the poll would lead to the demise of the ruling National Democratic Party’s government.

However, the main opposition group in the country, the officially outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, said it had not yet decided on its next move.

“The brotherhood has not taken a decision on whether or not to support the boycott,” Gamal Nassar, an official within the movement, told DPA by telephone. “The situation will become clear after Eid,” he said, referring to the Islamic holiday of Eid el-Fitr which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

After the end of his 12-year tenure as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) earlier this year, ElBaradei returned to Cairo to take up the role of dissident. His latest call for a boycott marks his toughest stand yet.

He has repeatedly called for electoral and democratic reforms, and at one point indicated he could run for president, to face off against incumbent Hosny Mubarak, who has ruled for nearly 30 years.

ElBaradei’s efforts to gain a local following have met limited success, but the Nobel laureate’s comments on Egypt are watched closely abroad.

He has taken tentative steps towards a temporary alliance with the Brotherhood on certain issues, especially on the calls for reform, but the topic of a boycott still divides an already fractured opposition.

The Brotherhood ran “independent candidates” in the last parliamentary poll in 2005 and they captured 88 seats.

The next election for parliament is likely to take place in either October or November with a presidential poll expected for next year.

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