(Photo: A Muslim Brotherhood candidate holds up election ballots he said were burned by government supporters, in Cairo November 30, 2010/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party has swept to a predictably huge win in an Egyptian parliamentary election that the opposition denounced as rigged, state media reported on Monday.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which controlled a fifth of seats in the outgoing parliament, boycotted Sunday’s second round after winning no seats in the first stage a week earlier. The second biggest opposition group in the last parliament, the liberal Wafd party, also withdrew.
The opposition and independent monitors cited ballot box stuffing, voter intimidation and other abuses in both rounds. But Sunday’s run-off passed off quietly, with some of the toughest races in seats where rival candidates from the ruling party were competing against each other.
Analysts said the government wanted to rid parliament of its most vocal critics to ensure a trouble-free presidential election in 2011. President Hosni Mubarak, 82, has not said if he will seek re-election and has no obvious successor.
Hundreds of Brotherhood members were rounded up before the election as part of a clampdown on the group.