Egypt opposition pushes for “guarantees” ahead of key polls
Egypt's main opposition bloc Saturday demanded "guarantees" to ensure fair parliamentary elections, expected to take place later this year, dpa reported.
The National Salvation Front, a grouping of mostly secular-minded opposition parties, called for installing what it called a "neutral government" to prepare for the polls, saying fair elections could not be guaranteed under the incumbent government that comprises members from the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
The alliance alleged last month that a public vote on an Islamist-backed new constitution was marred by fraud and irregularities.
The charter was approved by nearly 64 per cent of those who cast their ballots, although only one third of the registered votes showed up.
"The (coming) elections must be held under full judicial supervision," said the bloc in a statement quoted by the state-run newspaper al-Ahram online.
The alliance also demanded that local and foreign non-governmental groups be allowed to monitor the balloting and vote counting.
The Islamist-dominated Shura Council, temporarily in charge of legislation, is drafting an electoral law amid fears among the country's opposition that the resulting code would favour Islamists.
"Using places of worship in election campaigning must be criminalized and all forms of mixing religion with politics must be banned," the alliance said.
"We will consider appropriate alternatives if these guarantees are not provided," it added without elaboration.
An uprising that deposed Hosny Mubarak in February 2011 has propelled long-oppressed Islamists onto Egypt's political scene.
Islamists, led by President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, gained more than two-thirds of the first post-Mubarak parliament.
The country's top court dissolved the legislature in June, saying the electoral law was unconstitutional.
Procedures for the new polls are to be released on February 25. However, no specific date has been set for the vote itself.