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Carter: Egypt parliament poll reflects popular will
CAIRO (Reuters) - Former president Jimmy Carter said Friday that Egypt's first parliamentary poll since a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power "accurately" reflected the will of Egyptians.
The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood will secure close to half the seats in Egypt's first free parliament in decades in the election that started in November and is now drawing to a close.
The more hardline Islamist al-Nour Party has come second, putting Islamists of different stripes in control of more than two thirds of the chamber, based on projections from the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
"The general presumption by the Carter Center ... is that the will of the people has been adequately and accurately expressed in the results of the election," Carter told a news conference Friday.
There had been a number of "irregularities and disparities" in the process, including lack of training of judges and use of religious slogans during the voting, contrary to regulations, he added.
Carter, 87, is in Cairo with a group from his human rights organization, the Carter Center, to help monitor Egypt's legislative elections.
The Nobel Peace laureate met Egypt's military rulers and political parties, including the FJP, during his visit and said the army was unlikely to surrender all its powers by the end of June as scheduled.
The military council, in power since Mubarak's removal in February, has faced mounting public anger over what is widely viewed as stalling and mismanagement of the transition period.
Dozens of protesters demanding an end to army rule have been killed in bouts of violence in the past 11 months.
Public dismay pushed the generals to accelerate the timetable for handing over power and to promise to stand aside by mid-2012. But many dissidents say the military is keen to preserve its privileges and broad business interests.
The Carter Center said in a statement Friday that a new constitution that protected human rights and freedom and ensured "full civilian authority over the military" would be the foundation of a democratic Egypt.
The new parliament's first job will be appointing a 100-strong assembly to write a new constitution, which will define the powers of the president and parliament.
"The ultimate success of Egypt's transition will depend on the earliest possible handover of power to a civilian government that is accountable to the Egyptian people," the statement said.
(Reporting by Sherine El Madany and Seham Eloraby; Writing by Sherine El Madany; editing by Tim Pearce)
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