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Egyptians trade barbs ahead of elections

Feb. 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

CAIRO, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Opposition leaders in Egypt are calling for a parliamentary election boycott to hide their lack of popularity, a Muslim Brotherhood leader said.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi scheduled the start of parliamentary elections for April 22. Members of the Coptic Christian community expressed concern over a late April start because of conflicts with Easter celebrations in Egypt.

Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told the BBC he was calling for a boycott of the elections, describing it as a "sham poll."

"We need to send a message loud and clear to the people here and outside of Egypt that this is not a democracy, that we have not participated in an uprising two years ago to end up with a recycling of the (Hosni) Mubarak regime," he said.

Morsi was elected in June as a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. His administration has faced steady criticism for not doing enough to reform the country since the 2011 revolution.

Murad Ali, a spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party, said in a statement that there was no justification for an election boycott. Opposition leaders like ElBaredei, he said "are really worried about the world finding out the truth of their popularity -- or lack thereof -- on the ground."

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