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Egypt, the Mubarak’s ruling party win

By on December 7, 2010

President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party has swept to a predictably huge win in an Egyptian parliamentary election that the opposition denounced as rigged, state media reported on Monday.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controlled a fifth of seats in the outgoing parliament, boycotted Sunday’s second round after winning no seats in the first stage a week earlier. The second biggest opposition group in the last parliament, the liberal Wafd party, also withdrew.
The opposition and independent monitors cited ballot box stuffing, voter intimidation and other abuses in both rounds.
But Sunday’s run-offs passed off quietly, with some of the toughest races in seats where rival candidates from the ruling party were competing against each other.
“The 2010 parliament is certainly the most illegitimate in recent Egyptian history and no one can take it seriously,” said analyst Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Centre.
Officials said voting in both rounds was fair and complaints would be checked but did not undermine the overall vote.
Analysts said the government wanted to rid parliament of its most vocal critics to ensure a trouble-free presidential election in 2011.
A question mark hangs over Egypt’s future leadership because President Hosni Mubarak, 82, has not said if he will seek re-election and has no obvious successor.
His National Democratic Party (NDP) was set to win about 80 percent of seats in the 518-member parliament, based on official figures from the first round and preliminary run-off results cited by state media.
The NDP controlled about 70 percent of the last parliament.
Hamid said most of the non-NDP seats would be taken by independents with links to the ruling party, and the genuine opposition was unlikely to take more than 1 percent of seats.
The leftist Tagammu party was set to be the biggest opposition bloc in the new 518-seat parliament with just five seats. A handful of parties won a single seat each in the two rounds.
BOYCOTT Although banned by a rule that outlaws religious parties, the Brotherhood fields candidates as independents. It said none of its candidates ran in the run-offs because of the boycott, although 26 had made it through the first round.
Despite the boycott, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper said one of the 26, Magdy Ashour, had won in a Cairo district.
The Brotherhood denied he was standing. “He has stuck by the Brotherhood’s decision to boycott the second round of the elections which were rigged. We know nothing further,” Brotherhood member Mohamed Mursi said, adding that the group was unable to contact Ashour.
Hundreds of Brotherhood members were rounded up before the election as part of a clampdown on the group.
In a North Sinai district, hundreds of people demonstrated in the street, apparently in protest when their NDP candidate was beaten by a rival party member, security sources said. One security man was wounded and cars were set on fire.
Media reported other scuffles between rival NDP camps in areas of Cairo and the Nile Delta. In some areas, NDP candidates accused party rivals of bribery and hiring thugs to tip the vote.
Rights groups Amnesty International said as many as eight people died in election-related violence. A High Elections Commission official said there were four election-related deaths after the first round but no one died on the two voting days. (Reuters)

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