Egyptian election workers count ballots at the end of the second round of a referendum on a disputed constitution drafted by Islamist supporters of president Mohammed Morsi at a polling station in Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. Egypt's Islamist-backed constitution headed toward likely approval in a final round of voting on Saturday, but the deep divisions it has opened up threaten to fuel continued turmoil. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department wants Egypt's opposition to reverse its declared boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections.
Spokesman Edgar Vasquez says the U.S. is encouraging all Egyptian parties and potential candidates to compete in the staggered vote, which starts in April. He says the elections offer Egyptians an opportunity to have their voices heard.
The main opposition group, the liberal and secular National Salvation Front, declared Tuesday it would boycott the elections. The announcement is likely to add to Egypt's political instability.
Washington sees the parliamentary votes as an important milestone in Egypt's democratic transition.
Vasquez said Tuesday it was "critical" for Egyptian parties to take part so that Egyptians can select representatives from a broad range of political positions.
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