Cairo, Oct 4 (EFE).- The Civil Democratic Movement, a liberal-progressive alliance of twelve Egyptian opposition parties, denounced on Wednesday a plot by the government to prevent other presidential candidates from obtaining the necessary endorsements to run in the upcoming December elections.
“We are monitoring the situation to see if the elections will be serious or if everything will be a theater,” the leader of the progressive Bread and Freedom Party, Akram Ismail, which is part of the opposition alliance, told a press conference in Cairo.
The chairman explained that in order to run for the presidency, candidates must receive at least 20 parliamentary endorsements or 25,000 citizen endorsements in 15 Egyptian provinces, with the latter being the main option for the opposition given the pro-government nature of the parliament.
However, he denounced that in recent days citizens have been “prevented” from giving their endorsements to opposition candidates, in a “systematic” plan that includes “violence and threats.”
The opposition presented photographic evidence and three citizens who had witnessed these irregularities to denounce the presence of “thugs” in front of the registration offices, suspicious system crashes that occur whenever an attempt is made to endorse an opponent, and instances of abrupt closure of registration offices.
In addition, Ismail said that “hundreds” of citizens were “bribed” with boxes of food and little more than $6 to support current President Abdelfatah El-Sisi, who announced Monday that he will seek a third six-year term.
According to the alliance, the main opposition candidate, former deputy Ahmed Tantawi, has only received a few dozen endorsements, despite the fact that he toured several Egyptian cities last week and was received with great enthusiasm by a large part of the population.
Sources from his campaign told EFE that not even Tantawy’s own family was able to endorse him, although they tried to do so in several registration offices.
In light of these “violations,” the Civic Democratic Movement called on the National Elections Authority to open an investigation, since this body and El-Sisi himself recently promised that the process would be “transparent, fair and non-discriminatory.”
According to Khaled Dawoud, one of the spokesmen for the opposition alliance, the group will wait until the end of the nomination process on Oct. 14 to decide whether to “continue or boycott” the elections.
So far, only four politicians, including El-Sisi, have collected the necessary endorsements to run in these elections, which are the third since the current president took power after a coup against the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013. EFE