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Egypt’s ruling party sweeps boycotted vote

Associated Press / December 7, 2010

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CAIRO — Egypt’s election commission said yesterday that the ruling party has won a sweeping victory in parliamentary elections after the two main opposition groups quit the polls in protest of what they said was massive vote rigging.

Final results after runoffs Sunday gave President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party 83 percent of the vote. If dozens of elected independents join Mubarak’s party, as is expected, the ruling party could end up in control of around 96 percent of the legislature.

Mubarak’s government carried out a heavy crackdown on its main opponents in the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood before the vote, rounding up 1,400 supporters. The Brotherhood decided to boycott the runoffs after it failed to win a single seat in the first round.

A coalition of Egyptian rights groups urged Mubarak yesterday to nullify the results of the election because of the vote rigging.

The Independent Coalition for Elections’ Observation said the president should use his constitutional powers to dissolve the newly elected Parliament.

“Transparency standards were overlooked at the largest scale. Rigging and forging the citizens’ will have become the law regulating this election,’’ the groups said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif described the election as “the best in Egypt’s election history.’’ He promised his government will investigate fraud allegations, but election officials say the few reports of violations have been dealt with and had no effect on the results.

The first round of the vote, Nov. 28, and the runoff Sunday were marred by reports of armed clashes in the north and south, along with reports of vote buying and ballot box stuffing in many areas.

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