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Egyptians vote for legislators for lower house of parliament ;

November 28, 2010 - EGYPT

Five parties vie against the ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak in an election for the lower house of parliament, the Majilis Al-Sha'ab. He vowed a fair contest, but renewed the Emergency Law, which curbs opposition, at almost the same time. With the renewal, there is little chance NDP rivals, including members of the banned Moslem Brotherhood standing as independents, can mount an effective challenge.

Five parties vie against the ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak in an election for the lower house of parliament, the Majilis Al-Sha'ab. He vowed a fair contest, but renewed the Emergency Law, which curbs opposition, at almost the same time. With the renewal, there is little chance NDP rivals, including members of the banned Moslem Brotherhood standing as independents, can mount an effective challenge. ; The country's Emergency Law, in place since the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat by Islamic militants and extended in May for another two years, helps the government curb dissent and political opposition. Renewed repeatedly by parliament, it gives police broad powers of arrest and allows indefinite detention without charge. The country's strongest opposition movement, the Brotherhood controls a fifth of the seats in parliament through affiliated MPs, according to AFP, which says the movement's leaders are often arrested and their houses searched. Other observers note that free voting would almost certainly increase the Islamists' mandate in the 454-seat lower house and 264-seat upper house. The other parties -- Democratic Front, Nasserist, National Progressive Unionist Grouping; New Wafd; and the new Tomorrow Party -- won only a few seats between them.

Egypt's Mubarak challenges opposition (AFP 6 May 2010)

Date written/update: 2010-11-28