If November parliamentary elections are rigged by the government, the legitimacy of Egypt's next president--who must be sworn in before the national assembly--could be called into question, MPs affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) opposition movement warned at a symposium on Saturday.
According to a 2007 constitutional amendment, presidential candidates must garner the endorsement of at least 250 parliamentarians and municipal council members.
“This is a government of pirates,” brotherhood MP Sobhi Saleh declared at the symposium. “It needs to be done away with.”
“Egypt needs a revolution like that seen in Iran in 1979,” he said. “The Iranian revolution succeeded in toppling the Shah, who had headed up the strongest regime in the Middle East at the time.”
“Egypt was more democratic under the British occupation than it is today,” Saleh added, noting that the Egyptian political arena had been “militarized” since the 1952 coup. “Today we have an Emergency Law that serves to restrict political activity."
Saleh went on to stress that the MB planned to participate in next month's parliamentary elections despite the absence of guarantees that the contests would be free and transparent. “This way, we hope to expose the vote-rigging in front of the public,” he said.
MB member Saad Emara, for his part, suggested that voters stage "peaceful sit-ins" nationwide on election day in order to register their discontent with the status quo.