Mubarak’s party poised for sweeping Egypt poll triumph


CAIRO: Egypt on Tuesday awaited the final results of a parliamentary election that are set to deliver sweeping gains for President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party and all but demolish the Islamist opposition. Rights groups say the vote was marked by widespread violence and fraud, while the United States has voiced concern over “intimidation by security forces” on election day.
According to government daily Al-Ahram, the National Democratic Party (NDP) won more than 170 of 508 parliamentary seats from the first round on Sunday while the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main opposition party, failed to win a single seat outright.
The Islamists on Tuesday threatened to pull out of an election they have already denounced as “rigged and invalid.” “We are studying whether or not to continue” participating in the election, senior Brotherhood member Mohammed Mursi told a news conference in Cairo ahead of next Sunday’s runoff.
Al-Ahram and Al-Masri Al-Yom newspapers said Egypt’s secular opposition only won six seats, three of which went to the liberal Wafd party. Wafd urged the election commission to delay the announcement of results until it has investigated voting complaints, charging the government had failed to respect the presidential promise to guarantee transparent elections. Official results are expected later on Tuesday.
“An assembly without opposition,” ran the headline of independent daily Al-Shuruk, adding that “the NDP will essentially be competing against itself” in the second round next Sunday. Egyptians voted last Sunday for the 508 elected seats in the lower house, or People’s Assembly, many of which were contested by rival candidates of Mubarak’s NDP.
Egyptian monitoring groups reported deadly violence, vote rigging and intimidation of opposition candidates across Egypt on election day. The government insists the vote was fair, although Egypt’s interior ministry reported at least three people were killed by gunfire in clashes between supporters of rival candidates.
An independent candidate’s son was also killed in Cairo’s Matariya distric on Saturday, with his family saying he was stabbed while putting up posters of his father. Police said he was killed in a dispute over a woman.