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Egypt's main opposition coalition to boycott vote

Tuesday - 2/26/2013, 10:51am  ET

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's main opposition coalition has announced it will boycott upcoming parliamentary elections.

The decision by the liberal and secular National Salvation Front was announced in a televised news conference by leading member Sameh Ashour, who also heads Egypt's lawyers' union.

The elections were called last weekend by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The vote will start in April and be staggered over a two-month period.

Ashour said the decision to boycott the vote was taken unanimously.

The opposition has been calling on Morsi to defuse the nation's political crisis before calling for elections to prevent the country from plunging deeper into chaos. It wants a "neutral" government to replace the one led by Islamist Hesham Kandil, and for steps to be taken to ensure the independence of the judiciary.

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