[JURIST] Controversy surrounded the Egyptian parliamentary elections on Sunday as violence accompanied accusations of corruption, fraud and silencing the opposition. Reports have surfaced [AP report] of vote buying and the ejection of independent vote monitors from polling locations. The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has taken tough measures to hold onto its control of the 508-seat Egyptian Parliament [official websites]. The NDP denies [press release] the problems, saying that they are from “an outlawed group of people try[ing] to stifle the positive indications of the elections by spreading rumors about the whole process.” On Friday, eleven people were found guilty [JURIST report] of taking part in election demonstrations and campaigning for the banned Muslim Brotherhood [official website; JURIST news archive], the only legitimate opposition party threat. At least 1,200 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested during the run-up to Sunday’s election. The problems with this election raise issues for next year’s presidential elections.
In the run-up to this election Egypt has attempted to silence opposition voices. In October, Egypt issued new media restrictions [JURIST report] that critics say effectively put all live television media, including talk shows and news shows, under government control. The telecommunications regulator cancelled the broadcast permits of all private media companies forcing them to apply for new licenses through the state television agency. The Muslim Brotherhood has also been targeted. In April, Attorney General Abdul Magid Mahmoud announced that five international MB members will be tried in an Egyptian criminal court [JURIST report] on charges of money laundering. Egypt has also used the emergency laws extensively against other opposition parties. In May, the Egyptian Parliament voted to extend [JURIST report] the country’s state of emergency [JURIST news archive] for two years. Despite the two-year extension, parliament voted to limit the application of the emergency laws [Al Jazeera report] only to cases of terrorism and drug trafficking.
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