Egyptian opposition parties pull out of election

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Egypt's top two opposition movements pulled out of parliamentary elections yesterday, citing widespread fraud, after they were all but shut out in Sunday's first round of voting.

The move by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the strongest opposition force in the country, and the secular liberal Wafd party, is a blow to the country's efforts to portray itself as a democracy.

Egypt's government has staunchly defended the fairness of the first-round vote, despite reports of rampant rigging to favour the ruling party, President Hosni Mubarak's NDP.