ElBaradei Egypt
Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei characterized the upcoming parliamentary elections as part of a "sham democracy." REUTERS / Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The leader of Egypt’s main opposition coalition called for a boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections.

"(I) called for a parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy. Today I repeat my call, (I) will not be part of an act of deception," Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the National Salvation Front, wrote in a post on his Twitter account Saturday.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi announced the new elections on Thursday, scheduling a four-stage vote that will begin in late April and conclude in June.

“Morsi's decision to go for parliamentary elections amidst severe societal polarization [and] eroding state authority is a recipe for disaster,” ElBaradei wrote in another Twitter post.

The Egyptian president’s Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood, dismissed ElBaradei’s criticisms and accused the opposition of seeking power without engaging in a democratic process, according to the Associated Press.

The opposition has similarly accused the Islamists, who dominate the legislature, of disregarding the country's protections for minority rights by imposing conservative Muslim policies on the entire country.

Morsi has also been criticized by the opposition for expanding executive authority, limiting the powers of the courts and suppressing political dissent through the military.

The opposition claims that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have capitalized on Islamist populism, using elections to consolidate power within the government, likening it to tactics used by the authoritarian regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Anti-Morsi protests broke out last month, two years after the uprising began against Mubarak, with at least 70 people dead so far from clashes with security forces and government supporters.