President Mohamed Mursi has changed the date for Egypt’s parliamentary elections to 22 April.
The date was brought forward from the original date of 27 April, following complaints from Coptic Christians that criticised the timing of the elections, which were set to take place during the Easter holidays.
There are continuing calls from some opposition members to boycott the elections, with politician Mohamed ElBaradei saying on his twitter feed on 23 February: “[I] called for parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy. Today I repeat my call, will not be part of an act of deception.”
A day earlier, ElBaradei had said that “Morsi’s decision to go for parliamentary elections amidst severe societal polarisation and eroding state authority is a recipe for disaster”.
The elections follow the referendum in December in which Egyptians voted for the introduction of a much-debated new constitution, which demands that the voting takes place within a two-month time frame. The final rounds of voting are currently scheduled for the end of June.
The constitution has attracted criticism from a diverse range of groups, including Liberals and Coptic Christians, who argue that it does not represent minorities, having been drafted by an assembly dominated by Islamic groups. Many boycotted the referendum at the end of 2012.
In response to concerns over integrity of the planned elections, members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party have said the polls would be conducted under close supervision from the judiciary.
In the run-up to the announcement of the election date, Egypt has seen a number of anti-government protests take plance cross the country, reflecting the increasing levels of frustration with Mursi’s presidency.