CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt on Tuesday awaited the final results of a parliamentary election expected to deliver sweeping gains for President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party and a rout for the Islamist opposition.
The United States, meanwhile, voiced concern over “intimidation by security forces” on voting day.
According to government daily Al-Ahram, the National Democratic Party (NDP) won more than 170 of 508 parliamentary seats while the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main opposition party, failed to win a single seat outright.
Al-Ahram and Al-Masri Al-Yom newspapers said the secular opposition only won six seats, three of which went to the liberal Wafd party.
“An assembly without opposition,” ran the headline of independent daily Al-Shuruk, adding that in the second-round run-off next Sunday, “the NDP will essentially be competing against itself.”
Egyptians voted last Sunday for the 508 elected seats in the lower house, or People’s Assembly, in a poll that human rights groups and Washington said was marred by fraud and violence but which the government insists was fair.
Many of the seats were contested by rival NDP candidates.
Official results are expected later on Tuesday.
The United States said late on Monday that it was disappointed and dismayed over reports of interference, intimidation and other problems in Egypt’s parliamentary election.
“We are disappointed by reports in the pre-election period of disruption of campaign activities of opposition candidates and arrests of their supporters,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.
“We are also dismayed by reports of election-day interference and intimidation by security forces,” Crowley added.
The Muslim Brotherhood denounced the vote as “rigged and invalid”.
The Islamist group said it failed to win any seats outright in the first round of voting and that just 21 of its candidates were sure of making it into next Sunday’s run-offs.