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Election Monitors Allege Widespread Fraud in Egyptian Vote

VOA News 06 December 2010

Election monitors in Egypt say widespread fraud marred the country's parliamentary election that is expected to produce a landslide victory for President Hosni Mubarak's party.

The Independent Coalition for Elections' Observation said Monday that voting violations, including forgery, raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the new parliament.

The government promised to investigate. Still, the Associated Press quoted Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif as describing the process as "the best in Egypt's election history."

Egyptians voted Sunday in the second round of parliamentary voting. The country's two major opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd party, boycotted the run-off in protest of alleged fraud in last week's first round.

Mr. Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party [NDP] captured 209 seats outright in the first round of voting. That left 283 seats to be decided in the second round.

Most of Sunday's contests faced one NDP candidate against another, assuring a crushing victory for the party.

Many human rights groups and international observers believe the election campaign has been tarnished from the beginning after a government crackdown left many members of the Muslim Brotherhood in jail.

The Muslim Brotherhood failed to win a single seat outright in the first round of balloting, although the group won about one-fifth of the seats in the 2005 elections. The group is outlawed in Egypt, but runs its candidates as independents.

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