From 1961 to 1977 the Arab Socialist Union (ASU) was the only legal political party in Egypt. When a multiparty system was introduced in 1977, the ASU was replaced by several new parties. The number of active political groups grew to 11 by the early 1990s, though political parties must be approved by the government. Laws prohibit the formation of political parties along class lines, which serves to restrict the emergence of some parties, particularly those on the left. In the early 1990s the leading political group was the ruling National Democratic party. Principal opposition groups were the Socialist Labor party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the New Wafd party. Opposition parties boycotted the 1990 election in an unsuccessful effort to repeal legislation allowing the declaration of states of emergency.
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