Mubarak defends votes, Brotherhood gathers fraud evidence

Mubarak said any violations were "too minor" to undermine its legitimacy.

Mubarak defends votes, Brotherhood gathers fraud evidence

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday dismissed allegations that last month's parliamentary election was rigged and said any violations were too minor to undermine its legitimacy.

But, the main opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Saturday it was gathering evidence of vote-rigging and other abuses in last month's parliamentary elections and would alert international human rights groups.

Analysts say Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) was eager to remove opponents from parliament to ensure a quiet presidential vote next year. The NDP won about 80 percent of seats compared with about 70 percent in the last parliament.

"It pleased me, as the president of the party, the success our candidates have achieved, but as the president of Egypt, I wish the remaining parties had achieved better results, and would have preferred it if their efforts had not gone into arguments about boycotting the vote," Mubarak said.

"Turning to top court"


The Brotherhood, which controlled a fifth of seats in the outgoing parliament, boycotted the second stage of the elections after a first round it said was rigged in favour of President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

It also said it would turn to Egypt's constitutional and higher administrative courts to call for the dissolution of the new parliament and a re-run of elections.

"These violations do not invalidate the fact that elections took place in most constituencies according to the law ... and without any violence, deviations or violations," Mubarak said in his first public appearance since the vote.

The NDP secured about 80 percent of seats, based on final figures released by the elections commission, compared with about 70 percent in the last parliament.

"[We will address] those organisations concerned with human rights and upholding basic civil protections with which Egypt has signed agreements," said Sobhi Saleh, a Brotherhood member and former member of parliament.

Saleh said bodies such as the United Nations and Human Rights Watch would be contacted.

His statements follow a conference the Brotherhood held on Saturday to discuss what it termed "blatant fraud" and intimidation in the elections.

"The voting results of more than 92 electoral constituencies are void," Saleh said. He added that the Brotherhood would publish a book documenting the violations it said took place.

Islamist movement fields candidates as independents. It said none of its candidates stood in the run-offs because of the boycott, although 26 had made it through the first round.

"Freeze"

Wafd party, the second biggest opposition bloc in the outgoing parliament, said on Saturday it would "freeze" the memberships of seven of its party members who had won seats in the new parliament after refusing to join the party's boycott of the election, state news agency MENA reported.

Egypt's Parliament has a total of 518 members, of whom 10 are appointed by the president. Of 508 seats contested, the NDP won 420, while 70 went to independent candidates and 14 to other parties.

Results of the other four seats have not been announced because of violations in the voting process, according to a commission official.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, is due to hold its second multi-candidate poll for the presidency next year. Mubarak has not yet said if he will seek a sixth term next year.


Agencies

Last Mod: 12 Aralık 2010, 15:45
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