Egypt’s parliamentary elections were “rigged” according to opposition groups. The big loser was the Muslim Brotherhood, nemesis of President Hosni Mubarak, which saw the presence of its members in the parliament virtually erased in the ostensible landslide Mubarak’s supporters are relishing. 508 seats were contested, none of which were won by Islamist candidates, 88 of whom are in the outgoing parliament. The lopsided legislature sets up next year’s presidential race in which Mubarak will seek another term despite his advanced age (82) and questions of health. As the opposition became more active and vocal in the lead-up to the parliamentary balloting, the Mubarak regime cracked down harder, invoking new laws to prevent opponents from participating; tightening the regime’s hold on communications infrastructure; and arresting opponents. U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley expressed the “disappointment” of the American administration in the “irregularities” reported in the voting process.
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