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Mubarak Promises Free Elections

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (file photo)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (file photo)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says his country's upcoming parliamentary elections will be free and fair.

Mr. Mubarak made the promise during a speech to leaders of his ruling National Democratic Party Wednesday, one day after a coalition of 16 rights groups said they expect the vote will be rigged.

Mr. Mubarak's party is widely expected to dominate the November 28 election, which for the first time will include 64 parliamentary seats reserved for women candidates.

Egyptian democracy advocate Mohammed ElBaradei has previously called for a boycott of the parliamentary vote. The former United Nations nuclear chief and Nobel Peace Prize winner has also called for constitutional reforms, saying he will not run for president next year unless changes are made.

Last month, a senior official in Egypt's ruling party told the Reuters news agency the 82-year-old Mr. Mubarak will seek a sixth term in next year's presidential election.

President Mubarak himself has not said publicly if he will run. Many political experts believe he is grooming his son, Gamal, to take over.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.