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Egypt's election dismissed as fixed

Egypt's opposition has called the results of parliamentary elections invalid, claiming vote rigging secured an overwhelming victory for the ruling party.

The liberal Wafd party said that the government had broken a "presidential promise" to have free and fair elections and that in the absence of credible supervision of the elections, fraud had been rampant.

The party statement, carried in its newspaper before the announcement of official results, accused the ruling National Democratic party of "raping" its legitimacy by depending on thugs and "undemocratic" practices, such as ballot stuffing, to win.

The election "witnessed the massacre of democracy and freedom in Egypt," the statement said. "The ruling party's undemocratic practices ... raped its legitimacy with its assault on the law and the constitution."

Mohammed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and best organised opposition force in the country, also said the government had broken its promise to hold clean elections, but said the group would not resort to violence.

"We will not allow anyone to tempt us into breaking the law," he told reporters at a press conference. "The crimes committed by the regime clearly reflect its weakness and confusion ... whatever is build on falsehood is false."

He added that "the election is invalid".

Ayman Nour, head of the liberal Ghad party, condemned elections as "a scandal," and called on the Egyptian people to reject its results. Mr Nour was among few opposition voices that kept to an elections boycott, anticipating fraud, though a rebel faction of the party did run candidates.

The High Election Commission dismissed reports of violence or irregularities during the voting, saying that the few incidents it uncovered "did not undermine the electoral process as a whole."

Official results are still to be announced, but so far the NDP has won 170 of the 508 seats outright while only a handful went to the opposition, according to preliminary tallies. The remaining seats will be decided in a run-off on Sunday.

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