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Egyptian High Court Rejects Political Parties' Appeals

An Egyptian high court (the Supreme Administrative Court) has upheld a ruling rejecting the legal recognition of 12 political groups.

The high court Saturday upheld a previous government ruling denying official recognition of the groups, saying they did not meet the application requirements for becoming political parties. The groups were appealing a decision by a government agency (the Political Parties Committee) that rejected their applications to become political parties.

Members of the rejected parties condemned the court ruling as a politically motivated attempt by the government to stifle opposition.

On Thursday, a U.S.- based human rights group (Human Rights Watch) accused Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his ruling National Democratic Party of using the law that governs the formation of political parties to maintain a monopoly on political power.

Opposition leaders have accused Mr. Mubarak of making efforts to ensure that his son, Gamal, succeeds him. Gamal Mubarak has denied having presidential ambitions.

Currently, only legal parties holding five percent of seats in Egypt's parliament can field presidential candidates. Mr. Mubarak's National Democratic Party is the only one that meets that condition.

The next presidential elections in Egypt are slated for 2011.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.