Cairo: Egypt's ruling
party won a clear majority in parliamentary elections, as monitors
called on President Hosni Mubarak to dissolve the new parliament
due to reports of fraud.
The National Democratic Party (NDP) won 419 of the 508 seats
contested during the elections, which began last week. The second
and final round of voting for the People's Assembly ended Sunday.
In 2005, the NDP secured 311 out of 454 seats in parliament,
including 166 independents who joined the party after being
Opposition groups, most of which boycotted the second round, won a
total of 15 seats, while Independents won 70 seats.
Egypt's largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which
had 88 seats in the outgoing parliament, did not win a single
The Brotherhood and several other parties refused to take part in
the runoff after making a poor showing in the first round.
Opposition groups and several human rights and civil society
organisations accused NDP of fraud during the polls.
The government's High Elections Commission said there were only
limited irregularities, where a few people were arrested for
stuffing ballot boxes.
"Despite these irregularities, the committee expresses its
satisfaction with the whole process, and affirms that it fulfilled
its duty and calls on all people to put national interest above
all," commission chief Sayyed Abdel Aziz Omar said after results
Turnout in the runoff is estimated at 27 percent, the commission
said, a little less than the 35 percent voter participation in the
On Monday, the Independent Coalition for Elections' Observation,
comprised of three Egyptian non-governmental groups, called on
Mubarak to dissolve the newly elected parliament because of
alleged election fraud.
They put together video clips, presented at a press conference in
Cairo, showing an alleged range of abuses.
The video, which could not be independently verified, depicted
acts of bribery taking place, ballot cards being forged and
violence at various polling stations across the country.
One video purports to show a 12-year-old boy casting a ballot,
while another shows a 5-year-old bystander who allegedly suffered
a gunshot wound to his foot during a dispute at a polling station
in southern Egypt.
"I think such political and moral disaster, which the whole world
has seen despite restrictions on media, will make the president
seriously consider the situation," said Bahi Eddin Hassan,
director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, one of
the three groups behind the observation project.
The coalition said the violations were due to the absence of
judicial supervision during the elections. Local observers said
they had trouble keeping tabs on the voting, while foreign
monitors were totally banned in the most populous Arab country.
According to Magdy Abdel-Hamid of the Association For Community
Participation Enhancement - another member of the NGO coalition -
the new parliament will put "the legitimacy of next year's
presidential election into question".
Mubarak, 82, who has been in power for nearly 30 years, has yet to
name a vice-president or successor, or to confirm if he will seek
another six-year term in 2011.
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