Egypt’s ruling party won the country’s parliamentary election by a landslide, eliminating its main Islamist rival ahead of next year’s presidential poll that may see the first leadership change in 30 years.
The ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak won more than four-fifths of the 508-seat assembly, the government’s State Information Service said in an e-mailed statement yesterday in Cairo. The first round of voting was Nov. 28 and runoff elections were held Dec. 5.
The Muslim Brotherhood pulled out of the election, saying it was rigged, a charge the NDP has denied.
“Egypt doesn’t have a parliament that represents the will of the people,” senior Brotherhood official Essam El-Erian wrote on the group’s website. “It represents the will of the riggers and the thugs who have kidnapped the will of the nation,” he said. The election commission overseeing the vote said any violations didn’t affect the final outcome.
President Mubarak, in power since 1981, hasn’t announced whether he will run for another six-year term in 2011. Opposition groups including the Brotherhood have said that the president is grooming his son, Gamal Mubarak, a senior NDP official, to succeed him. Both men deny this.
The lack of a designated successor to Mubarak, 82, has fueled concern that a succession crisis may lead to political unrest. That could endanger foreign investment needed to create jobs and expand output in the most populous Arab country.
‘Numerous’ Violations Reported
New York-based Human Rights Watch said last week that it had received reports of “numerous” violations, including authorities detaining journalists and preventing the staff of opposition candidates from entering 30 polling stations the group visited.
The government rejected calls by the U.S. administration and the European Union to allow international observers to monitor the election.
“I was concerned by reports of irregularities, restricted access for independent observers and candidates’ representatives into polling stations, media restrictions as well as arrests of opposition activists,” EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
The National Democratic Party won 420 out of 504 contested seats, the government said. Elections for the four remaining seats will be held at a later date, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported, citing Sameh El Kashef, spokesman for the High Election Commission.
Opposition groups, led by the Wafd and the Tagammu parties, won 14 seats, while independent candidates won 70 seats, the government said.