- (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
As Egypt’s final run-off elections for parliament’s lower house begin Tuesday, the liberal Free Egyptian Party has alleged a conspiracy and vows to boycott the Shura Council, or Upper House of Parliament, elections, which are scheduled for late January.
The Free Egyptian Party is boycotting the Shura Council elections in protest of what they say was unfair voting in the earlier rounds of elections.
“The process has turned into a religious competition rather than an electoral one, which amounts to a forging of awareness whose effect on the results is no less than the physical forging that used to happen,” The Free Egyptian Party said in a statement, according to The Guardian.
“We filed more than 500 complaints but no legal action was taken to resist it... which will exacerbate violations during the Shura council election as violators are awarded with electoral gains and those abiding by the laws are punished,” the statement added.
Unlike parliament’s lower house, the Shura council does not have a significant legislative vote, but rather is used for advisory purposes. One criticism of Egypt’s government is that the Shura council will stand in the way of democratic processes.
Islamists from varying political parties are expected to hold 60 percent of lower house seats.
Other critics argue that these staggered elections, which have carried on since Nov. 28, represent the country’s slow movement towards democracy.
“The elections have given Egypt a forward momentum,” Shadi Hamid of Brookings Doha Center in Qatar told USA Today.
“At least now you can say there is something going on here and the process has started, even though there is a long way to go,” he added.
The runoff elections are to fully end Wednesday. The Muslim Brotherhood Party garnered 40 percent of the seats in the first two rounds of elections, while the Salafi Al-Nour party gained more than 20 percent.