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Egypt Islamists aim to placate ruling party
Egypt Islamists aim to placate ruling party
Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood is standing in only about a third of parliamentary seats in coming elections, to avoid friction with the country’s ruling party, its leader said in comments printed on Saturday. Egypt’s three-stage elections for parliament’s lower house are being held amid a U.S. drive for greater democracy in the Middle East, which has pushed the government into concessions. Voting starts on November 9 and runs until early December.
Saturday, November 5,2005 00:00
by Ikhwan webIkhwan web

Egypt Islamists aim to placate ruling party
Reuters

 CAIRO - Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood is standing in only about a third of parliamentary seats in coming elections, to avoid friction with the country’s ruling party, its leader said in comments printed on Saturday.

Egypt’s three-stage elections for parliament’s lower house are being held amid a U.S. drive for greater democracy in the Middle East, which has pushed the government into concessions. Voting starts on November 9 and runs until early December.

The Brotherhood, the largest opposition bloc in the chamber, is officially banned and its members run as independents. But authorities have given it unusual leeway ahead of the polls, freeing jailed leaders and letting it hold marches and meetings.

In comments to the pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Hayat, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mahdi Akef said his Islamist group could have put up candidates against the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) for all 444 elected seats.

"The group was able to propose 444 candidates for the elections like the NDP but decided not to provoke it and proposed only 150 instead," he was quoted as saying.

Akef said he hoped authorities would not prevent Brotherhood supporters from voting, as in previous elections.

"Akef hopes that the Brotherhood’s taking of seats in Cairo during the first stage of the elections will not push a return to old security methods to prevent it getting other seats in the second and third rounds," al-Hayat said, paraphrasing Akef.

Brotherhood activists were arrested and their supporters blocked from voting in elections in 1995 and 2000. Brotherhood members still won 17 seats, a figure the group hopes to at least treble this time.

The United States, a major donor to President Hosni Mubarak’s government, has called for more political freedom in Egypt but supports the ban on the Brotherhood, which opposes U.S. Middle East policy.

 


 


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