WASHINGTON — The United States pledged Monday to support free and fair parliamentary elections in Egypt later this month, after Egyptian human rights groups warned of political crackdowns on the opposition.
Registration of political candidates for the People's Assembly November 28 elections closed last week.
"The United States remains committed to supporting free and impartial elections in Egypt," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, holding the Egyptian government to its own commitment to "fair and transparent elections."
"We welcome the government of Egypt's stated commitment to expand political participation and ensure free and transparent elections, including facilitating domestic monitoring by civil society groups."
The spokesman called on Egypt to ensure peaceful political gatherings, unhindered voter education and participation campaigns, as well as balanced media coverage for all candidates.
"An open electoral process would include a credible and impartial mechanism for reviewing election-related complaints, a domestic election observation effort according to international standards and the presence of international observers," Crowley added.
Last week, the Egyptian Forum of Independent Human Rights Organizations said a government crackdown on opposition candidates will prevent a fair parliamentary election.
Gamal Eid, the director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, noted the broad powers granted to the interior ministry and "restrictions on independent candidates belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and those who splintered from the National Democratic Party."
The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls a fifth of parliament, has accused the government of arresting dozens of its members since the country's largest opposition movement announced it would run for election.
The last election in 2005 was marred by violence and allegations of fraud by judges who supervised the ballot count.
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