Leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi (C) waves upon arrival to submit his bid to run as presidential candidate to the presidential election committee in Cairo, April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper
CAIRO, Jan 6 (Aswat Masriya) – The Popular Current Party, initially founded by leftist politician and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, will not officially participate in the coming parliamentary elections, it announced on Tuesday.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued late December a law drafted by the cabinet to regulate electoral districts, one of the final steps taken in preparation for the coming parliamentary elections.
The Popular Current said in a statement that the said law "allows for the return of figures from the toppled regime of Hosni Mubarak and Muslim Brotherhood followers to the political scene." The party blamed the government for ignoring their calls to amend the law.
The party also cited "restrictions" on political activities due to security apparatuses' recent practices and the protest law as further reasons behind the boycott. The elections will not provide an equal opportunity for all nor would it allow for proper campaign activities, the party said.
Former Interim President Adli Mansour issued on June 6 a law governing the coming parliamentary elections, shortly before ceding power. The law has been met with criticism by several political parties that have called for its amendment before the elections are held.
Political parties were pushing for more seats to be won through electoral lists rather than being individually elected.
As per the newly issued laws, Egypt's coming parliament will be made up of 567 seats; 420 members will be individually elected, 120 will join the parliament through electoral lists, and 27 members will be appointed by the president.
Popular Current Spokesman Ahmed Kamel told Aswat Masriya that the party's decision is "final". He added that it will be nevertheless reviewed by the "Democratic Trend Alliance", to which the party is member.
Kamel said the government's "obstinacy in listening to the demands of the parties" concerning the amendment of the parliamentary elections law is the "prime reason" for the boycott. He added that the said law is "biased toward privileged individuals as opposed to political parties."
The Popular Current was founded by Sabahi in September 2012. It was formed shortly after the leftist politician ranked third during Egypt's first presidential elections after the January 25 uprising, held in 2012.
Though the Popular Current launched its political party during a press conference last September, it is yet to be officially declared as a party.
Kamel said that Sabahi is only a symbol of the party, denying that he has any "organisational role nor is he responsible for the decision to boycott the elections."
As of yet, a date has not been set for the parliamentary elections. A presidential spokesman has nevertheless said that Sisi already announced earlier that the elections will be held in March.