Egypt opposition bloc to boycott election

Egypt opposition bloc to boycott election

The National Salvation Front, the main opposition bloc in Egypt, announced that it would not participate in parliamentary elections scheduled to start in April, saying there must first be a law guaranteeing a free and fair vote.

"The decision of the front, unanimously, is to boycott the elections," member Sameh Ashour told reporters on Tuesday after a meeting of the coalition, which groups mainly liberal and leftists parties and movements.

The elections were called last weekend by president Mohamed Morsi. The vote will start in April and be staggered over a two-month period.

Ashour said the decision to boycott the vote was taken unanimously. The opposition has been calling on Morsi to defuse the nation's political crisis before calling for elections to prevent the country from plunging deeper into chaos.

It wants a "neutral" government to replace the one led by prime minister Hesham Qandil, and for steps to be taken to ensure the independence of the judiciary.