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Opposition protests alleged fraud in Egypt vote

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CAIRO – Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters protested outside vote counting stations, scuffling with police and denouncing what they called widespread fraud in Egypt’s parliament elections on Sunday, as the government appeared to determined to ensure its monopoly on the legislature in uncertain political times.

The protests in Cairo and in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria capped a day of voting in which many independent monitors were barred from polling stations amid reports of ballot box stuffing and vote buying. In some places, government candidates were seen passing out cash and food to voters near polling stations.

Overhanging Sunday’s parliamentary vote was the more significant presidential election set for next year. For the first time in nearly 30 years, there are questions over the presidential vote. The 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak has had health issues, undergoing surgery earlier this year. His party says he will run for another six-year term, but that hasn’t resolved the speculation over the future of the country’s leadership.

Fueling the sense of unease, Egyptians the past year have grown increasingly vocal in their anger over high prices, low wages, persistent unemployment and poor services despite economic growth that has fueled a boom for the upper classes.

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Egyptian policemen fire tear gas towards supporters of a Muslim brother hood candidate for parliament elections, who claim they were prevented from voting, near a polling station in Al-Ayat City, just outside Cairo, on Nov. 28

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