US democracy watchdog quits Egypt as political noose tightens

CAIRO - US democracy watchdog The Carter Center has closed its Egypt office and says it will no longer monitor the country's parliamentary elections due to an increasingly restrictive political environment.
Egypt's parliamentary elections should be held within six months of the presidential election but a date for the polls has yet to be set. Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected as president in May.
The Carter Center cited the mass arrests of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, the passage of a law that severely curbs the freedom to protest, and moves to tighten the application of a law governing civil society organizations.
"The current environment in Egypt is not conducive to genuine democratic elections and civic participation," former US President Jimmy Carter said in a statement on Wednesday.
"I hope that Egyptian authorities will reverse recent steps that limit the rights of association and assembly and restrict operations of Egyptian civil society groups."
The Carter Center opened an office in Cairo following the 2011 revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power and has monitored most polls since, including Sisi's election.
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