Egypt’s rul­ing party sweeps par­lia­ment vote

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

CAIRO: Egypt's rul­ing party won a sweep­ing vic­tory in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to re­sults re­leased Mon­day, af­ter a fi­nal round of vot­ing boy­cotted by the two main op­po­si­tion groups in protest of what they said was mas­sive vote-rig­ging.

Hours be­fore the re­sults were even an­nounced, a coali­tion of Egyp­tian rights groups al­leg­ing fraud de­manded that Pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak annul the elec­tions use his con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to dis­solve the newly elected par­lia­ment.

The out­come leaves Mubarak's Na­tional Demo­cratic Party in firm con­trol of the new par­lia­ment and its main ri­vals in the fun­da­men­tal­ist Mus­lim Broth­er­hood com­pletely shut out, as the coun­try gears up for a cru­cial pres­i­den­tial vote next year.

The se­cu­rity forces car­ried out a heavy crack­down on the Broth­er­hood be­fore the vote, round­ing up 1,400 sup­port­ers. The Broth­er­hood de­cided to boy­cott Sun­day's runoffs af­ter if failed to win a sin­gle seat in a first round it said was marred by ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

The group stunned the rul­ing party in the last elec­tions, in 2005, by win­ning 20 per­cent of par­lia­ment's seats.

This time, Mubarak's party won 83 per­cent of the seats, ac­cord­ing to Mon­day's fi­nal re­sults. If dozens of elected in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates join ranks with the NDP, as is ex­pected, the rul­ing party could con­trol 96 per­cent of the leg­is­la­ture.

The Broth­er­hood vowed to con­tinue le­gal chal­lenges against the re­sults.

"The new par­lia­ment has no le­git­i­macy and it must be dis­solved," said Broth­er­hood spokesman Mo­hammed Morsi. "These polls scan­dal­ized the rul­ing regime while giv­ing a boast to our le­git­i­macy and pop­u­lar­ity."

Along

with

the Broth­er­hood, the other main op­po­si­tion party, the Wafd, also pulled out af­ter the first round on Nov. 28, in which it won just two seats. Four of its can­di­dates vi­o­lated the party's boy­cott and won in runoffs, giv­ing the party a to­tal of six seats - the same stand­ing it had in the out­go­ing par­lia­ment. The Wafd, how­ever, has said it will ex­pel the can­di­dates who vi­o­lated the boy­cott.

A group of rights or­ga­ni­za­tions called The In­de­pen­dent Coali­tion for Elec­tions Ob­ser­va­tion called on Mubarak to nul­lify the elec­tions and use his con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to dis­solve the newly elected par­lia­ment. "Trans­parency stan­dards were over­looked on the largest scale. Rig­ging and forg­ing the cit­i­zens' will have be­come the law reg­u­lat­ing this elec­tion," the groups said. PM Ahmed Nazif on Mon­day de­scribed the elec­tion as "the best in Egypt's elec­tion his­tory." -Ap

KHAR­TOUM: Jac­ques Diouf (L), Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the United Na­tions (FAO) speaks dur­ing the open­ing ses­sion of the 30th Re­gional Con­fer­ence for the Near East Re­gion, on De­cem­ber 7, 2010 in Khar­toum. -Ap

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