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Second phase of Egyptian polls sees higher turnout
Second phase of Egyptian polls sees higher turnout
>Turnout in the troubled first round of the second phase of Egypt’s month-long parliamentary elections stood at 28.6 percent, according to official results announced Wednesday.
Friday, November 25,2005 00:00
by (Daily Star)

Second phase of Egyptian polls sees higher turnout
Judges call for protection during remaining rounds


Turnout in the troubled first round of the second phase of Egypt’s month-long parliamentary elections stood at 28.6 percent, according to official results announced Wednesday. Justice Minister Mahmoud Abou Alleil, also the head of the electoral commission, told reporters that the ruling party had only won 8 seats outright with no runoffs needed out of the 144 up for grabs in the second phase. Turnout in the first phase stood at 24 percent.

The Brotherhood said it secured 13 seats, but they were included in the 15 seats won by independents in the official results announced Wednesday.

Earlier, Egypt’s judges union urged the government to mobilize the army to protect its members during the remaining rounds of the polls.

In a statement issued after an emergency overnight meeting of their board, the judges - who have the job of supervising the polling process  - launched a stinging criticism of the police.

"The attacks perpetrated against several judges during the second phase of voting demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the police, or even its deliberate negligence," it said.

The judges accused the police of "allowing thugs to enter polling stations, attack judges, break and burn ballot boxes and terrorize voters," it said.

The first round of the second phase in the polls was marred by widespread irregularities and violent incidents.

"All these incidents are irrefutable proof that the police did not fulfill their mission," the judges said.

"This brings the judges’ union to demand that our armed forces be mobilized," the statement added, quoting an article of the law on political rights.

The Brothers’ vice-president wrote in a British newspaper Tuesday that there was no need to fear the Islamist movement.

Khairat al-Shatir wrote in The Guardian daily that democratic reforms could trigger a renaissance in Egypt.

Shatir wrote that the Brotherhood was seeking a limited role in parliament to create an effective parliamentary bloc. "What we want to do instead is trigger a renaissance in Egypt, rooted in the religious values upon which Egyptian culture and society is built," he argued.

"We believe that the domination of political life by a single political party or group ... is not desirable," Shatir wrote.

"The success of the Muslim Brotherhood should not frighten anybody: we respect the rights of all religious and political groups," he said. - Agencies

tags: parliamentary elections / politics / rigged elections / MB Vs. NDP / democracy / judges' club / second phase / daily star / state security
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