Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Opposition quits Egyptian elections after governing NDP takes almost all the seats
The Muslim Brotherhood and the secular Wafd-party withdrew on Wednesday from Egypt's election after the ruling National Democratic Party got almost all seats that were decided in a first round, which was marred by fraud and violence. A third party, the leftist Tagammu, is expected to follow suit, which will reduce the second round of the elections , next Sunday, to an exclusive NDP-circus.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was the main opposition party in the outgoing parliament with 88 seats (20 % of the total) will boycott the second stage of parliamentary voting, a Brotherhood source said on Wednesday. Mohamed Badie, the movement's leader, is expected to confirm that the party is formally quitting the vote, which as many believe was massively fixed by President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) using thugs, ballot box stuffing and other tricks.
The NDP got captured nearly all seats in parliament in the first round of the disputed elections, according to official results. The National Democratic Party won 209 of 221 seats in Sunday's polls, but the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, failed to win a single seat.
The Egyptian parliamnet has a total of 508 seats.The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt under a ban on religious parties and fields candidates as independents Analysts said the government wants to push the Brotherhood to the margins of formal politics before next year's presidential race.
Egypt's electoral commission dismissed the Brotherhood's claim that the vote was "rigged and invalid". "While the commission regrets that certain irregularities took place, it is satisfied with the fact that these irregularities did not impact on the transparency of the first round of the election."
The White House and the US state department have criticised the way the poll was conducted. "We are disappointed by reports in the pre-election period of disruption of campaign activities of opposition candidates and arrests of their supporters, as well as denial of access to the media for some opposition voices," Philip Crowley, the state department spokesman, said on Monday.
"We are also dismayed by reports of election-day interference and intimidation by security forces."
The Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday dismissed the criticism from the US as "unacceptable interference in Egypt's internal affairs".
Amnesty International said there had been eight election-related deaths and scores of injuries, mostly during clashes between rival parties.