The Egyptian opposition sets 15 conditions to ensure free and fair presidential elections

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On Wednesday, the opposition Civil Democratic Movement in Egypt issued a statement putting forward conditions that must be met for free and fair presidential elections, the results of which reflect the valid will of the voters, as it described it. The conditions included partisan pluralism, the peaceful transfer of power, freedom of the media, equal opportunities for all candidates, and the neutrality of state institutions.

A source in the movement said that it is witnessing what can be described as a division between two groups: the first beliefs in the need to give priority to creating momentum around guarantees of the integrity of the presidential elections, and the other judges, in the other hand, that it is necessary to give priority now to engaging in dialogue with the regime to push it to release more political detainees. The source added that the second team sees little potential benefit from the presidential elections.

The head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Farid Zahran, explained that the statement results from initial discussions between the movement’s parties. The movement’s spokesman, Khaled Daoud, said it is committed to releasing prisoners of conscience before starting any dialogue with the regime. He added that starting a dialogue between the government and the opposition without releasing political prisoners is meaningless.

In January, the Civil Democratic Movement called on the Egyptian government to complete fulfilling the opposition parties’ demands. In a statement, the movement urged the government to release prisoners of conscience and peaceful dissidents and help those released obtain compensation for the violations they were subjected to. The group also called on the government to stop persecuting dissidents and unblock opposition news websites. It pledged to stop seeking peaceful democratic methods and means to achieve “the deserved demands of the Egyptian people.”

Former presidential candidate and founder of the Civil Democratic Movement Hamdeen Sabahi stressed that the movement would not dialogue with the government unless the authorities released political prisoners. “The movement announced a set of necessary guarantees for the success of the dialogue, including the release of prisoners of conscience,” said one of the movement’s leading members, Samir Alish, in October. “The movement will not back down from these demands, and if the authorities do not positively respond to them, it will not participate in the dialogue.” He added that if many prisoners of conscience are released, the group will participate actively and positively in a dialogue with the regime.