Elections Monitor: MB-NDP confrontation continues despite withdrawal decision

“A Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group kidnaps Magdi Ashour to prevent him from [participating in Nozha District] run-off [parliamentary] elections,” reads a front-page headline in state-run Rose al-Youssef.

According to the report, Ashour’s family had urged him not to withdraw following the MB’s, Egypt’s largest opposition party, decision to boycott the run-offs. Even as the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) prepares to “play against itself in the election finale,” as noted by the privately-owned Al-Shorouk’s headline, NDP candidates distrust the MB’s decision, and state-run newspaper editorials continue to launch MB attacks.

Finally, there are indications of a widening security campaign against the Brotherhood, according to Al-Shorouk.

Al-Shorouk reports that it is unclear whether MB candidate Magdi Ashour will abide by the MB’s decision to boycott the run-offs. Sources told Al-Shorouk that Ashour currently undergoes substantial pressure from his districts’ residents urging him to participate. He says he remains committed, however, to his party’s decision.

MB candidate in Cairo’s Sahel District Hazem Farouk similarly remains committed to the boycott. Farouk said that if the NDP attempts to embarrass candidates who withdrew by allowing him to win, he will resign immediately.

Writing for the state-run Al-Gomhorriya, Mohammed Ali Ibrahim notes that news regarding Ashour’s kidnapping confirms that the movement kidnaps and murders to achieve its goals.

According to Ibrahim, the MB does not respect dialogue and does not hold democratic ideals. Anything that the Supreme Guide says, writes Ibrahim, remains uncontested by members of the “secret organization.”

Members of the “outlawed,” asserts Ibrahim, are prepared to execute their leader’s will at any cost.

Despite the fact that the MB decided to withdraw from today’s run-offs, NDP candidates in the Agouzein and Bandar Desouk districts in the Kafr al-Sheikh Governorate behave as if they continue to face MB competitors, reports Al-Shorouk.

A source within the NDP cast doubt on the MB’s sincerity to fully withdraw, describing the MB’s stated decision announcement as a “political maneuver,” according to Al-Shorouk.

Similarly, NDP candidates are intensifying their campaigns in districts with MB candidates, in anticipation of MB “cunningness,” reports Rose al-Youssef.

It notes that MB candidates remain registered in 26 districts, most prominently the Karmouz District in the Alexandria Governorate, the Shubra 1 District in the Qalyoubia Governorate, and four districts in the Gharbiya Governorate.

In the Shubra 1 District, NDP candidate Mugahed Nassar said that the MB did withdraw from elections there, but he asserted that he remained distrustful of MB intentions.

At the same time, sources within the MB told Al-Shorouk that the movement is likely to be the target of a large-scale security campaign over the next few weeks that could affect the Supreme Guide Mohammed Badi’s leadership in the guiding council.

According to the sources, a recent statement by NDP secretary general Safwat al-Sherif where he attacked the organization, as well the complaint filed by the NDP against the MB a few days prior to the elections, point to the impending MB crackdown.

Notably, MB lawyer Abdel Monem Abdel Maqsoud that the decision to release hundreds of detained MB members resulted from the MB’s decision to withdraw from run-off elections.

According to Abdul Maksoud, the number of those released does not exceed a few dozen out of the 1480 members arrested since the MB announced its participation in this year’s elections.

In related developments, the MB’s reformist current released a statement welcoming the Brotherhood’s decision to withdraw from the run-offs and calling on all opposition parties still participating to reevaluate their decisions.

A number of MB leaders, including former MB Shura Council member Ibrahim al-Zafarani and former MB candidate Gihan al-Halafawi, signed the statement.

In other news, eight of nine Wafd Party candidates qualifying for election run-offs will participate in the race despite the party’s decision to withdraw, reports state-run Al-Ahram.

The party’s political bureau, headed by Wafd president Al-Sayyid Al-Badawi, will meet on Wednesday to dismiss those choosing to deviate from the party’s decision, reports Al-Shorouk.

Finally, the Court of Administrative Justice issued a ruling nullifying all Qalyoubia Governorate election results, according to Al-Ahram.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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