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Muslim Brotherhood Second in Egypt’s Polls
Muslim Brotherhood Second in Egypt’s Polls  By Inas Abdul Aziz, IOL Correspondent (IslamOnline.net) – Over 80 percent of seats in the first phase of Egypt’s parliamentary polls will have to wait till the run-off round, to be held Tuesday, November 15, with semi-official results showing the largest opposition block of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) coming second to the ruling Natio
Friday, November 11,2005 00:00
by Islam online,

Muslim Brotherhood Second in Egypt’s Polls

 By Inas Abdul Aziz, IOL Correspondent

(IslamOnline.net) – Over 80 percent of seats in the first phase of Egypt’s parliamentary polls will have to wait till the run-off round, to be held Tuesday, November 15, with semi-official results showing the largest opposition block of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) coming second to the ruling National Democratic Party.

Only 31 seats, out of 164, were settled in the first round that was held Wednesday, November 9, of which the NDP – headed by incumbent President Hosni Mubarak and in firm control of the Arab country since its formation by the late President Anwar Sadat in 1979 – secured 27, amid complaints of foul play from the opposition.

The legally banned but largely tolerated – due to de facto strong presence – Muslim Brotherhood (MB) came in second to the NDP, securing the 4 remaining seats and expecting more gains in the decisive run-off battle next week.

According to electoral commission reports, the group’s candidates have won seats in the districts of Sayeda Zeinab, and Helwan in Cairo, a third seat in Batanoun Constituency in Menoufiya Delta governorate, in addition to a fourth seat in Beni Sueif governorate in Upper Egypt.

The official results are to be announced during a press conference later Friday, November 11, at the Ministry of Justice. Head of the electoral commission, Minister of Justice, will announce the results himself.

Run-offs

Run-offs made the second remarkable phenomenon in the first phase, with 133 seats witnessing fierce decisive battles.

31 Muslim Brotherhood candidates are going for run-offs, out of a total of 51 candidates for the group, with 15 of their mates failing to qualify for a win or a run-off.

The total absence of traditional opposition parties in Egypt made the MB the sole player posing a real challenge to the NDP.

To add salt to injury, two leading opposition figures lost their seats in the polls to NDP candidates.

Ayman Nour, leader of the liberal Ghad (Tomorrow) Party and Mubarak’s main rival in September presidential elections, lost his seat in his own Cairo stronghold of Bab Al-Sheriya to Yehia Wahdan, a former state security officer and an NDP candidate.

Nour cried foul and vowed to legally contest the result, which he dubbed "a disgrace" in the "black history of fraud" of the NDP.

And in another blow to the Egyptian opposition, Wafd stalwart Munir Fakhri Abdel Nour lost his seat in the Wayli constituency to NDP candidate Sherein Fouad.

Traditional opposition powers have only 7 candidates that cruised to the grind of run-off, against the other 228 NDP and independent candidates, in addition to the 31 MB, making a total of 266, vying for 133 seats.

Despite Fraud

Commenting on the almost final results of the first round, MB deputy guide Mohamed Habib has rejected allegations of the group’s failure (to pose a real threat to the dominant NDP).

"Despite the rigging, the results show that the competition is only between the Muslim Brotherhood and the NDP, with the group’s candidates in the lead."

Egyptian voters in eight of Egypt’s governorates cast ballot Wednesday in the first round of an almost month-long three-phase parliamentary polls.

This first round of elections involved a total of 1,635 candidates vying for 164 of the People’s Assembly’s 444 seats that are up for grabs.

Cairo, Giza, Menoufiya, Beni Sueif, Menya, Assiut, New Valley and Mersa Matrouh are the governorates that witnessed the voting.

Opposition parties and monitoring groups have reported electoral violations and intimidation of voters, with reports about a meeting Saturday, November 12, grouping all opposition powers to consider boycotting the two remaining phases of the country’s legislative elections.

The second phase of polls is to take place November 20 (run-off 6 days later), with the third and final one taking place December 1 (run-off to be December 7) and the new parliament is to convene December 20.


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