Egyptian Voting Wrapping Up

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Egyptians are wrapping up the first round of voting in the country's first parliamentary elections since President Hosni Mubarak resigned in February.

Government officials say voter turn-out was high again on Tuesday, the second day of polling.

The polling for seats in the lower house of parliament began on Monday for voters in Cairo, Alexandria and seven other provinces.

The rest of the country will vote in two later rounds expected to conclude in early January. Elections for the upper house will then take place, ending in March, after which the assembly will write a new constitution.

Egyptian officials say the voting was mostly peaceful with no major problems.

Voter Nadia Fawzy said her voting experience was positive.

“I'm so happy indeed. This is the first time I experienced such a fair election. Because of the revolution everybody comes to vote this time. The army personnel are securing the polling area in a systematic way.”

But National Human Rights Council chief Hazem Mounir said there were some initial problems with the voting process.

“The electoral scene is confused. There are violations, there are mistakes, there is the disrespect of the law, there is administrative confusion, there is weakness in proper organizing, there are problems in steering the electoral process. All these are due to confusion on the political scene due to the weakness of the legal constitution and the legal framework of the electoral process and due to the lack of an independent committee for the electoral process.”

Council representatives served as elections observers.

The influential Muslim Brotherhood, a moderate Islamist movement banned during previous decades, is expected to emerge as the largest power – but without an outright majority – when results are published in January.

The historic elections will determine whether the group's Freedom and Justice Party is poised to move Egypt down a more Islamist path after nearly six decades as an authoritarian secular state effectively run by the military.

Before the elections, nine days of clashes between protesters and security forces, with 42 people killed and more than 3,000 injured, had heightened fears of violence among supporters of rival candidates.