U.S. "dismayed" by Egyptian election process
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Monday reports of "irregularities" in Egypt's parliamentary elections raise questions about the "fairness and transparency" of the process.
"We are disappointed by reports in the pre-election period of disruption of campaign activities of opposition candidates and arrests of their supporters, as well as denial of access to the media for some opposition voices," U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
He added that Washington was "dismayed by reports of election-day interference and intimidation by security forces."
Official results in Sunday's election are due on Tuesday. Opposition charges of ballot stuffing, bullying and other trickery marred the polls, but the Eygptian government said the balloting was fair.
The State Department said Egyptian confidence in the election outcome would occur when the government addresses "existing flaws" and ensures "full and transparent" access by independent monitors and candidate representatives.
The outlawed but partly tolerated Muslim Brotherhood said on Monday a "rigged" election had all but wiped out its presence in parliament, virtually eliminating opposition to President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party before next year's presidential vote.
Officials have indicated Mubarak, in power since 1981 and whose health has been under renewed scrutiny since gallbladder surgery in March, will seek a new term if able. If not, many Egyptians think his son, a top party official, will stand.
Investors have so far brushed off leadership worries, with the lure of Egypt's sturdy growth outweighing uncertainty.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed, Editing by Jackie Frank)
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