Baby Step for Democracy

BARRY IVERSON for TIME

In Cairo, opposition supporters condemned the poll as rigged

Incumbent Hosni Mubarak campaigned hard against nine opponents in last week's Egyptian election, the first multiparty presidential race in the country's history. Not surprisingly, he won hands down with 88% of the vote. He could rely on the entrenched election machine of his ruling National Democratic Party, as well as the weakness of smaller opposition parties, which learned only in February that he was allowing a contest.

But voter apathy as well as cries of foul play undercut Mubarak's effort to portray the election as a showcase for democratic change. Egypt's Independent Committee for Election Monitoring (

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