Mubarek's party sure of victory in Egyptian run-off

Egyptians are voting in second-round parliamentary election run-offs on Sunday. President Hosni Mubarak's party is almost unopposed after the two main opposition parties decided to boycott the polls, claiming widespread fraud.

Reuters/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

The choice is limited to candidates from the ruling National Democratic Party and independents. The Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd party, withdrew from the race after official results from the 28 November first round gave the NDP around 95 per cent of the seats decided outright.

In Sunday’s second round, the NDP has 383 candidates running mostly against rivals from within the same party for 283 seats.

The NDP, which has dominated parliament for 30 years, won 209 out of 221 seats in the first round. The Muslim Brotherhood did not win a single seat.

The Wafd, which usually has working ties with the government, won two seats in the first round, but also decided to pull out of the run-off.

Three other parties which each won a seat last week decided to keep their candidates in the race.

Human rights groups say they gathered evidence of fraud and vote-buying in the first round, after a campaign which already made it difficult for the NDP's opponents to win seats.

Brotherhood supporters and candidates faced campaigning curbs in the run-up to the vote. At least 11 of the group's supporters have been sentenced to two-year jail terms for distributing its campaign literature.

The vote is seen as an indicator of Egypt's presidential elections due in late 2011. Mubarak, 82, has yet to announce whether he will stand and is widely believed to be lining up his son Gamal to succeed him.

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