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Egypt’s main opposition group to boycott vote

CAIRO — Egypt’s largest opposition bloc said Tuesday that it will boycott the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections, heightening the prospect of future instability after months of political crisis and damaging the credibility of the country’s fledgling democracy.

The National Salvation Front, a loose coalition of liberal and leftist political parties, said that it would boycott the late April vote because the Islamist government of President Mohamed Morsi did not consult it in passing a new electoral law and disregarded pressure from the group for, among other things, a new Cabinet and a redrafting of the country’s constitution.

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‘‘The NSF has decided to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections because we were not consulted about the election law, and also because all our demands have been ignored,’’ Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the Front, said at a Cairo news conference.

Months of intermittent protests and street clashes have left Egypt’s political forces polarized and have widened the tide of opposition to Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, and his Islamist backers in the Muslim Brotherhood.

But political analysts and opposition leaders have speculated that the liberals’ chances of making significant gains at the ballot box were already slim; opposition leaders have been unable to overcome deep internal divisions over policies and goals or remedy poor organization.

Without the liberals on the ballot, analysts said, Islamists from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and more hard-line Salafist political parties will sweep the elections. Opposition leaders contend that the boycott highlights a lack of credibility that they say already threatens to undermine the process.

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