Landslide vote was a fraud, say Egyptian opposition

Yasmine Saleh,Marwa Awad,Reuters,In Cairo
Tuesday 30 November 2010 01:00 GMT

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said yesterday a "rigged election" had all but wiped out its presence in parliament, virtually eliminating opposition to President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party before next year's presidential vote.

Opposition charges of ballot stuffing, bullying and trickery marred Sunday's election, which the government said was fair. Official results are due today.

The outlawed but partly tolerated Brotherhood held a fifth of seats in the outgoing lower house. The Islamists, who run as independents, are the main rivals of Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) which has swept elections for decades.

None of the Brotherhood's 130 candidates won in the first round of voting for the 508 seats at stake, Saad al-Katatni, the head of the Islamist bloc of 88 seats in the outgoing assembly, said. Only a few had progressed to a run-off on 5 December.

"There was rigging and we filed an appeal about the voting procedure," he added, referring to the loss of his own seat in Minya, south of Cairo, which he won in 2005 with 35,000 votes against the 12,000 won by his closest rival.

In the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbia, supporters of a defeated independent candidate hurled burning objects at the local NDP headquarters and fought with police, wounding four security men, Egypt's state news agency reported. Rights groups said three people were killed on voting day.

Analysts had predicted the government would push its Islamist critics to the margins of formal politics ahead of the presidential race. Mubarak, 82, has not said if he would run.

"This is a whole different level of rigging, manipulation and fraud, and it suggests that the regime is nervous about the impending transition (of power)," said Shadi Hamid from the Brookings Doha Centre.

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