Mohammed Morsi wants to discuss April election with opposition

Photo: Mohammed Morsi wants to discuss April election with opposition / Arab World

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has invited the opposition to discuss ways to ensure that an upcoming parliamentary election is fair, DPA reported.

The gesture comes after opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called for boycotting the poll, due to start on April 22.

Morsi, in a per-recorded television interview broadcast Monday, rebuffed opposition calls for the election to be postponed, saying it was required by the constitution.

The president, who hails from the conservative Muslim Brotherhood, also rejected opposition calls for a national unity government to replace the cabinet of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.

Other leading figures in the National Salvation Front, the main opposition grouping of which ElBaradei is a member, have threatened to boycott the poll unless a new government is appointed.

They have warned that the election risks further deepening political divisions.

Morsi has denied that the government has been failing Egypt and has also rejected calls to sack Prosecutor General Talaat Ibrahim, whom he appointed in November.

The National Salvation Front has yet to announce its final stance on participation in the election.

The hardline Salafist al-Nour Party confirmed they will take part and called on all parties to participate.

Spokesman Bassam al-Zarqa, a former adviser to Morsi, also called on the government to guarantee integrity and transparency during the process.

Al-Nour got the second largest number of seats in parliament in last year's election, after Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

The two parties were seen as allies against the liberal and secular minority in the upper house of parliament - which now holds legislative powers - as well as the dissolved lower house.

Egypt has been without a lower house of parliament since June, when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the electoral rules were unconstitutional. The previous election had produced a vast majority for Islamist lawmakers.

The Shura Council, or the upper house of parliament, temporarily holds legislative authority until the legislature is elected.

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