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Egyptian elections disappoint Washington

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Washington expressed disappointment with reports of arrests and voter intimidation during weekend elections in Egypt, the State Department said.

Opposition groups in Egypt accused the ruling National Democratic Party of paying off voters and stuffing ballot boxes. Egyptian election observers and others said would-be voters were turned away at some polling stations.

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Turnout among the country's 41 million registered voters was reported light. The largest opposition bloc, the Muslim Brotherhood, could lose half its seats in the 508-seat Parliament.

The opposition group took 20 percent of the seats in Parliament in 2005 by fielding its candidates as independents.

The U.S. State Department said it was following the developments in Egypt, noting Egyptians would only have confidence in their government if the political system is transparent and accessible.

"We are disappointed by reports in the pre-election period of disruption of campaign activities of opposition candidates and arrests of their supporters, as well as denial of access to the media for some opposition voices," the State Department said. "We are also dismayed by reports of Election Day interference and intimidation by security forces."

Cairo dismissed many of the claims, though foreign monitors weren't allowed in the country to observe the election.

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