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Egyptian elections criticized

By Noa Shneorson
Published: December 2010

Egypt recently held its first round of parliamentary elections on Sunday November 28.
Entering this year’s election was President Hosni Mubarak’s governing party, The National Democratic Party (NPD), along with its greatest opposition the Muslim Brotherhood.
The recent elections are predicted to result in a 518-seat parliament consisting of mostly NDP candidates, with few seats going to independents in other parties.
The NDP’s biggest threat in the elections, the Brotherhood, is an outlawed Islamic political activist group whose candidates must run for parliamentary seats as independents.
In the previous election, held in 2005, the Brotherhood scored a record number of 88 seats, about one fifth of Parliament, but this year the outcome of the first round of voting did not look nearly as promising as it had in 2005.
After the first round of elections, the activist group had not won a single seat, causing apprehension and suspicion of foul play during the voting process.
Just before the campaigns, some 1,400 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were arrested and some candidates were barred from running for office.
Many Brotherhood-supporting voters claimed that they were being kept out of the booths for voting, while the NDP voters promoted and celebrated their candidates, getting into the booths with no problems.
Although the Brotherhood candidates did not win any seats in the first round, 26 of its candidates did make it through into the run-offs, which will determine the 57 percent remaining in parliament. The rest of the 518 seats have already been claimed, with 209 seats going to President Mubarak’s party, seven going to other non-Brotherhood independents, and three going to various other recognized parties. The president will also appoint 10 more seats.
Due to the feeling of being cheated and the frustration towards the governing party, on Wednesday the Muslim Brotherhood announced its candidates’ pulling out of the election.
They said the boycott is a declaration of protest against the ruling party and its corruption.
The Brotherhood also argued that the elections were rigged in favor of the NDP and questioned the legitimacy of the votes, which the Egyptian government defended, claiming that the election was fair.
Many people believe that Egypt’s government has been at a stand-still, with the same ruling party for the past 30 years, but the question remains whether or not a new political party in power would be a progression or just another blow to the efforts making the Egypt’s government stable and functional.

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