By Yasmine Saleh/Reuters
CAIRO: 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.
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.
The country’s two biggest opposition blocs withdrew from the vote before run-offs, saying the results were tainted by fraud, intimidation and violence. Officials said the process was fair and that any complaints were being checked.
“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.
“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.
Mubarak, 82 and in power since 1981, has not said if he will seek a sixth term in the election, expected to take place in the second half of next year.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s biggest opposition bloc in the outgoing parliament, won only one seat this year, compared to a fifth of the total seats in 2005.
The Brotherhood boycotted the second round of the vote after it failed to win any seats outright in the first stage and refused to acknowledge the seat awarded to one of its members in the run-off.
Egypt’s second biggest opposition group in the last parliament, the liberal Wafd party, also withdrew and refused to acknowledge the six seats it won, calling on successful candidates to choose between the party and the parliament.