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In Egypt, the army and the interim government continue to prepare for Monday's first round of parliamentary elections. The elections threaten to split the opposition: while some members of the protest movement are calling for this week's elections to be deferred until power is transferred to civilian hands, and several parties have announced that they would boycott the balloting, the Muslim Brotherhood is determined to win a large number of seats in parliament. In an effort to ensure orderly elections, the Islamic group has said it does not support the current wave of protests. Egypt's military ruler warned of "extremely grave" consequences if the turbulent nation does not pull through its current crisis and urged voters to turn out for landmark parliamentary elections starting on Monday. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi claimed "foreign hands" were behind the latest wave of unrest, an assertion similar to those made by Hosni Mubarak in his final days in power before he was ousted in a popular uprising in February. Tantawi was Mubarak's defense minister for 20 years. The warning came as thousands of protesters were filling Cairo's Tahrir Square for another massive demonstration to push for him and the other generals to immediately return to their barracks in favor of a civilian presidential council and a "national salvation" government to run the country's affairs until a president is elected. So far 41 protesters have been killed and more than 2,000 have been wounded, most of them in Cairo.
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