Published — Saturday 23 February 2013
Last update 23 February 2013 1:43 am
CAIRO: Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi has issued a presidential decree calling for staggered parliamentary elections, starting April 27 and ending in June.
The decree says the vote will take place in four stages and the new Parliament will convene on July 6.
Since the ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising in 2011, Egyptians have gone through a series of referendums, presidential and parliamentary elections. The first elected Parliament was disbanded by a court order last June.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as the country’s dominant political group.
A key opposition leader warned yesterday that the vote may only inflame tensions unless there are serious political talks first.
Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the main opposition National Salvation Front, wrote on his Twitter account yesterday that Mursi’s “decision to go for parliamentary elections amidst severe societal polarization and eroding state authority is a recipe for disaster.”
Abdullah Shehata, an economy expert with the Brotherhood, said the elections will help the country’s ailing economy.
“The elections will be positive because it will be the final institution to fall into place after the presidency and the constitution,” he said. “The coming parliament will be elected by the people and will help build confidence in Egypt again. “
The founder of the opposition April 6 movement said if the election law is not agreed upon, they will not support participation in elections.
“The election laws have not been agreed upon and this is an essential problem,” Ahmed Maher said.
“Until now, the Brotherhood party is dealing in the Shoura Council as if there is no opposition and they are forcing these laws on the rest,” he said, referring to Egypt’s interim parliament.
According to Thursday’s decree, Egypt’s 27 provinces will be divided into four groups that will vote separately over two days over a period ending on June 27. This is allegedly to give the more than 50 million voters enough time to participate in the balloting.