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Vote gives Mubarak allies most seats

Associated Press / December 1, 2010

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CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party has captured nearly all the Parliament seats that were decided in a first round of voting, according to results announced yesterday from elections that Egypt’s opposition has decried as riddled with violations.

Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, dismissed the results, which accounted for 43 percent of Parliament’s 508 seats. The rest will be decided in runoffs on Dec. 5, but the fundamentalist Brotherhood expects to be almost entirely swept out of Parliament by what it said was rampant rigging, intimidation, and vote-buying — allegations echoed by rights groups.

That would be a huge blow to the most powerful opposition force, which shocked the ruling National Democratic Party in the last election in 2005 by winning 88 seats, a fifth of Parliament. A government crackdown has since weakened the group, which is outlawed but fields candidates as independents.

Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie said Mubarak’s government had broken its promise to hold clean elections, but vowed his group would not resort to violence.

“We will not allow anyone to tempt us into breaking the law,’’ he told a news conference. “The crimes committed by the regime clearly reflect its weakness and confusion. . . . Whatever is built on falsehood is false,’’ he added. “The election is invalid.’’

Results announced yesterday showed that the ruling party has so far secured 209 seats. Opposition parties won five seats and independents seven, none of them for the Brotherhood.

Sunday’s vote has been closely watched for any indications on the political direction of Egypt ahead of a more crucial presidential election in 2011. Mubarak, who is now 82, underwent surgery earlier this year to remove his gall bladder.

Many believe he is positioning his son, Gamal, to succeed him, but there is widespread public opposition to “inheritance’’ of power.

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