Boycotts, bikinis, and ElBaradei

With presidential elections a year away and parliamentary elections around the corner, the political scene in Egypt is heating up quickly. The most recent developments have Mohammad ElBaradei, Nobel Laureate, opposition leader and potential presidential candidate, calling for a boycott of November’s parliamentary elections. "Anyone who participates in the vote, either as a candidate or ...

Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images

With presidential elections a year away and parliamentary elections around the corner, the political scene in Egypt is heating up quickly.

The most recent developments have Mohammad ElBaradei, Nobel Laureate, opposition leader and potential presidential candidate, calling for a boycott of November's parliamentary elections. "Anyone who participates in the vote, either as a candidate or as a voter, goes against the national will," said ElBaradei. The former IAEA chief threatened to launch a campaign of civil disobedience if certain demands are not met, such as lifting legal constraints on independent presidential candidates.

It is not so clear how credible these threats are given the factional nature of the Egyptian political opposition. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have put forward different strategies on approaching the elections and opposition within the state in general; the BBC reports that while the Brotherhood supports ElBaradei they are still likely to put forward their own candidates.

With presidential elections a year away and parliamentary elections around the corner, the political scene in Egypt is heating up quickly.

The most recent developments have Mohammad ElBaradei, Nobel Laureate, opposition leader and potential presidential candidate, calling for a boycott of November’s parliamentary elections. "Anyone who participates in the vote, either as a candidate or as a voter, goes against the national will," said ElBaradei. The former IAEA chief threatened to launch a campaign of civil disobedience if certain demands are not met, such as lifting legal constraints on independent presidential candidates.

It is not so clear how credible these threats are given the factional nature of the Egyptian political opposition. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have put forward different strategies on approaching the elections and opposition within the state in general; the BBC reports that while the Brotherhood supports ElBaradei they are still likely to put forward their own candidates.

Of course, this story would not be complete without mud-slinging. Earlier this week, ElBaradei’s daughter, Laila, was caught in an awkward situation as pictures and information allegedly taken off of her Facebook page (sigh) were widely published. The pictures showed alcohol being served at her wedding and Laila in a bikini. Needless to say, it probably will not float well with Egypt’s conservative Muslim society and her father has already accused the government of publishing the pictures for political gain.

With a year to go until presidential elections, one can only imagine the drama to come.

Mohammad Sagha is an editoral researcher at Foreign Policy.

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