Opposition groups have pulled out of a second round of voting in the Egyptian election after a failure to win many seats in an poll marred by violence and allegations of fraud.
The Muslim Brotherhood opposition and secular party Wafd have both withdrawn, Al Jazeera reports.
“Sunday was marked by fraud, terrorism and violence carried out by police and thugs,” the Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement.
“The Brotherhood refuses to react to such violence”, Al Jazeera reported the group as saying.
Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party wiped out its Islamist opponents from parliament in the first round of the poll, according to official results released on Tuesday night.
The NDP won 209 of 221 seats in the first round of voting on Sunday.
The Muslim Brotherhood failed to win a single seat, but the group had said before the results were announced that it had at least 26 candidates who would run in the second round, 16 of them incumbents. AFP reported.
Four small legal opposition parties won five seats between them and seven went to independents who are not affiliated with the Brotherhood.
Election officials said turnout was 35 per cent of the country’s 40 million eligible voters, out of 80 million people.
The Brotherhood, the only serious opposition force in the country, registers its candidates as independents to circumvent a ban on religious parties. It won a fifth of seats in the last
election in 2005.
Rights groups disappointed
Human rights groups say Sunday’s vote was marred by widespread violence and fraud, and the White House expressed disappointment at the way the election was conducted.
The Brotherhood fielded 130 candidates, compared with about 800 for the NDP, after more than a dozen were disqualified and at least 1,200 supporters arrested.
The group had already denounced the election as “rigged and invalid”.
Egypt’s electoral commission dismissed the claim.
“The commission categorically rejects the allegations that the election was marred by fraud,” commission spokesman Sameh el-Kashef told a news conference.
“While the commission regrets that certain irregularities took place, it is satisfied with the fact that these irregularities did not impact on the transparency of the first round of the election,” he said.
Kashef said that only 1,053 ballot boxes out of 89,588 had been discarded and put turnout at 35 per cent.
The head of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, Hafez Abu Saada, had previously said voter turn out was no more than 15 per cent.
Egyptian watchdogs monitoring the election and international rights groups reported deadly violence, vote rigging and the intimidation of opposition candidates, while Washington called
reports of numerous irregularities “worrying”.
“The United States is disappointed with the conduct during and leading up to Egypt’s November 28 legislative elections,” said White House national security spokesman Mike Hammer.
“The numerous reported irregularities at the polls, the lack of international monitors and the many problems encountered by domestic monitors, and the restrictions on the basic freedoms of association, speech and press in the run-up to the elections are worrying,” he added.
Analysts say President Barack Obama’s administration is focusing more on its key regional alley as it approaches a presidential election in 2011. Mubarak, 82, has yet to say whether he will run for another term.
“Washington policy makers are concerned by what seems to be a deterioration in political liberties ahead of the first leadership succession in 30 years,” said Michele Dunne, a former State Department diplomat, according to AFP.