Harb: Participation in parliament races splits opposition

Democratic Front Party Chairman Osama el-Ghazali Harb warned that expected participation by the Wafd, Tagammu and Nasserist parties in upcoming People’s Assembly elections would lead to a “fissure” within the ranks of the opposition.

“I’m not comfortable with the actions of these three parties. I was hoping that the opposition would agree to boycott the elections to place pressure on the regime,” Harb told Al-Masry Al-Youm. “Their participation, however, will serve to limit that pressure.”

According to Harb, while the parties claim they will contest elections on the grounds that a boycott would be unproductive, the real reason lay in the parties’ reluctance to anger the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). Harb said these parties were keen to coordinate with the NDP as they had done in the past.

Harb added that the Democratic Front was the only party to take a firm stance regarding a proposed election boycott. He said he would study the three parties’ decision–and its repercussions–in coming days, stating that the decision had revealed divisions in the opposition’s approach to political participation.

According to Harb, one side has advocated a boycott of elections and the amendment of the constitution on the grounds that participation under the current circumstances would be of a merely superficial nature, while the other side wants to participate in elections regardless of the circumstances.

Regarding a proposed coalition between the Democratic Front, Wafd, Tagammu and Nasserist parties, Harb stated that all scenarios were possible, including the possibility that the Democratic Front would ultimately decide not to boycott the races.

Commenting on the timing of the parties’ announcement to field candidates in the elections, which came following scheduled visits by delegations from the National Association for Change to the parties’ respective headquarters, Harb stated: “I’ve insisted on participating in these visits on the grounds that I am a member of the association. Despite the fact that the parties preempted the visits with their announcement, we are still intent on participating in them until the final NAC position becomes clear.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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