First Round of Voting Ends in Egypt

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 5:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Egyptians have completed the first round of voting in the first parliamentary elections since a popular uprising forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign in February.

The country's interim military leaders are hailing round one as a success and say voter turnout was high. No major problems are reported.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is congratulating Egyptians for what he calls their enthusiastic participation at the ballot box. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner calls the voting peaceful and a success.

But the chief of Egypt's National Human Rights Council, Hazem Mounir, said the voting process is confusing. He blames it on what he calls a weak legal framework for elections and no independent election commission.

Voters cast ballots for the lower house of parliament Monday and Tuesday in Cairo, Alexandria, and seven other provinces. The rest of the country will vote later and the entire election, including runoffs and choosing the upper house, will not be over until March.

Nine days of clashes between protesters and police leading up to the elections killed 42 people and left more than 3,000 injured.

The historic elections will determine whether Egypt moves down a more Islamic path after nearly 60 years as an authoritarian secular state essentially run by the military.