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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 September 2005, 07:31 GMT 08:31 UK
Rivals denounce Egypt poll result
Ayman Nour
Principal challenger Ayman Nour said the result was unacceptable
Defeated candidates in Egypt's first contested presidential election have denounced the result of the poll and called for a re-run.

President Hosni Mubarak, in power for 24 years, won with 88.6% of the votes - in an election marked by low turnout.

Challengers Ayman Nour and Numan Gumaa, who took 7.6% and 2.9% of the vote respectively, have said the result was unacceptable and the result of fraud.

But Egypt's electoral commission has rejected the candidates' complaints.

It has also turned down Mr Nour's request for a re-run, saying that claims of fraud are groundless.

'Serious violations'

Groups monitoring the vote said there were widespread abuses, mainly by Mr Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) and electoral officials.

However they say this would not have affected the overall result.

Mubarak won but the political atmosphere in Egypt is no longer as stagnant as it's been
Moataz, Egyptian living in England

Mr Nour's Ghad (Tomorrow) party has insisted he took at least 30% of the vote.

A Ghad spokesman said many of Mr Nour's supporters had been prevented from entering polling stations to vote.

Mr Nour told the Associated Press news agency: "This is a farce. I will appeal to get our rights back."

Allegations of fraud have also been made by the Wafd party's Numan Gumaa, who came third.

However, other opposition figures said that while there had been flaws, the election had been more positive than expected.

Voters 'apathetic'

Mr Mubarak, who previously had been elected only in single-candidate referendums, changed the system this year under pressure from the US and domestic political groups.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
A win for Hosni Mubarak was widely predicted all along

BBC Middle East correspondent Ian Pannell says the main problem for reformers is not the reports of fraud but rather that the vast majority of people chose to stay at home - turnout was just 23%.

Many were apathetic, or sceptical that this election would be any different to those held previously, he says, adding that there is little in the final result to persuade them otherwise.

Although Washington has welcomed the election, its reception in the Arab world has been more muted, our correspondent adds, reflecting a deep reservoir of caution about change.

BBC Cairo correspondent Heba Saleh says many in Egypt will be disappointed the opposition did not do better because it would have signalled the possibility of a more vibrant political life and speedier democratic transformation.

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