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Egypt's Islamists reject call for boycott of election run-off

EGYPT'S Muslim Brotherhood is calling on opponents of the military dictatorship to support its candidate in today's presidential election run-off. It said it would not join a boycott of the poll in protest at a court ruling that dissolved parliament.

The Islamist group -- which won the parliamentary elections that have now been ruled invalid -- issued a statement yesterday, saying Egypt was facing a "counter-revolution plainly witnessed by all". It added that there were now "serious doubts on the potential integrity of the electoral process".

Nevertheless, it rejected a growing movement to boycott this weekend's election run-off, which will choose either the Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi or Ahmed Shafiq, a former general closely tied to the ruling supreme council of the armed forces, as president.

Many revolutionary activists are calling on voters to spoil their ballots as a protest against what they see as manipulation of the election.

"Dr Morsi is determined not to abandon the people who placed their confidence and trust in him," the Brotherhood's statement said. It called on Egyptians to turn out in "million-man marches" to defend the revolution.


The ruling on Thursday by Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court said many of the candidates in the parliamentary election were invalid.

A separate ruling overturned a parliamentary decree which would have banned Mr Shafiq from taking part in the presidential election as a senior official in the old regime -- he was the former president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.

Dr Morsi is the clear favourite in the run-off and opposition politicians and Egyptian and Western analysts all claim that the military council feared that its powers and privileges would be threatened if both presidency and parliament were in the Brotherhood's hands.

The chairman of the court, Farouq Sultan, was a personal appointee of Mubarak.

But the day before the ruling, the authorities announced that military police were being given the right to arrest civilians, a move that some interpreted as a preparation for protests which would be likely to follow a Shafiq victory.

Amnesty International said the decision to give the military powers of arrest had "dangerous and pervasive ramifications for the rule of law". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent