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Egypt Rejects US Election Criticism

An Egyptian woman casts her vote at a polling station in Alexandria, 10 Nov 2010

Egypt has rejected U.S. criticism of its handling of Sunday's parliamentary elections as unacceptable interference in the country's affairs.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said Wednesday that U.S. statements contained misleading claims.

The U.S. expressed concern about the polling, which resulted in Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's party capturing nearly all parliamentary seats.

On Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said the U.S. was assessing reports of problems that include polling irregularities and a lack of international monitors. He called the reports "worrying." International rights groups and opposition parties have also criticized the election process.

Egypt's largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is considering whether it will withdraw from this Sunday's runoff, after failing to win a single seat in last Sunday's polling. The group won about one-fifth of the seats in the 2005 elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed by a ban on religious parties but runs its candidates as independents.

Egypt announced its official election results late Tuesday. The ruling National Democratic Party secured 209 seats in the 508-seat parliament. Four secular opposition parties won five seats between them. Seven seats went to independents.

The December 5 runoff will decide the remaining 287 contests where no candidate won more than 50-percent of the vote.

The head of Egypt's high electoral commission, Abdel Aziz Amr, said there were minor incidents of fraud during last Sunday's polling. He insisted the incidents were being handled firmly.

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

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