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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Egypt ruling party seeks new MPs
Gamal Mubarak speaks at a National Democratic Party conference
Gamal Mubarak, the president's son, wants to modernize the NDP
Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party has announced it will replace a third of its existing MPs ahead of next month's parliamentary election.

Safwat al-Sherif, the party's secretary general, said that young people and women had been given priority in a campaign to win every seat.

NDP leader Hosni Mubarak, re-elected president in September, approved the changes.

Opposition groups are hoping to challenge the party's dominance.

The elections are scheduled to begin on 8 November and finish before 11 December, when the term of the current parliament ends.

Mr Sherif said the NDP, which holds 388 of the 444 seats in the People's Assembly, would replace 130 of its existing MPs with new candidates.

The party will contest all 222 constituencies, for each of which two candidates are elected.

Opposition challenge

The NDP initially won some 40% of seats in the People's Assembly in 2000, but was joined subsequently by a large number of independent candidates, originally NDP members, who had been excluded from standing on the party's lists.

Correspondents say the move could be a sign of the modernizing influence of President Mubarak's son, Gamal.

At the NDP conference last month, Gamal took credit for bringing in political reforms.

Opposition groups are also seeking to increase their share of the parliament.

A group of 10 political parties and organisations have formed an alliance to stand against the NDP in November and plan to submit a single list of candidates.

The National Front for Political and Constitutional Change includes the Wafd Party, the Nasirite Party, the al-Tagammu Party, and the Egyptian Movement for Change, or Kifaya, which has been campaigning for democracy.

On Wednesday, the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which is fielding candidates as independents, urged Egyptians to vote.

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