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Egyptian Opposition Figure Calls for Election Boycott

VOA News 08 December 2010

A leading opposition figure in Egypt has called for a boycott of next year's presidential election and warns of possible violence if the government does not enact political reforms.

Mohammed ElBaradei dismissed Egypt's election process as a "farce" in a video message posted on his Facebook website Wednesday.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency also said there could be clashes in Egypt if opposition activists are not allowed to practice civil disobedience and demand change.

Some activists want ElBaradei to run in the 2011 presidential election, but he has said he will only consider entering the race if the government can guarantee free and fair elections.

ElBaradei's message comes just days after President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party swept to victory in parliamentary elections after the two main opposition groups boycotted a second round of voting to protest what they called massive fraud.

The National Democratic Party will now control more than 80 percent of the assembly.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, failed to win a seat outright in the first round of voting. The officially banned group, with its candidates running as independents, had gained about one-fifth of parliament's seats in the 2005 elections.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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