3 Dec 2010

Opposition party to boycott elections

9:56 am on 3 December 2010

The main opposition party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, is to boycott a second round of voting in parliamentary elections on Sunday, claiming the first round was rigged.

The Egyptian government claims the first round vote on 28 November was free and fair, but the ABC reports the results suggest otherwise.

The ruling party now holds almost all of the 508 seats in Egypt's parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood surprised the government five years ago and won a fifth of the seats, but now it has been almost totally wiped out.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie says the election was rigged.

"These elections are invalid in most of the constituencies, which will raise questions about the legitimacy of everything that comes out of this parliament," he said.

"We are warning this is about the future of Egypt and not the future of the ruling party."

The ABC reports more than 1000 Muslim Brotherhood members were detained in the lead-up to voting.

Political rallies were broken up by security forces, who were also out in force at the polling booths.