Egypt enters final day of voting
By Mike Hanna
Cairo — Egyptians took to the polls for a second day in the final stage of the election for the lower house of parliament, the first free legislative vote since military officers overthrew the monarchy in 1952.
Voting takes place over two days – Tuesday and Wednesday – in the Nile Delta provinces of Qaliubiya, Gharbiya and Daqahliya, the New Valley province, the southern governorates of Minya and Qena, the border province of Matruh, and in North and South Sinai.
Up to 15 million people were eligible to cast their votes in the final round for the first parliament since an uprising toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak in February last year.
Islamist groups came late to the uprising, but have so far won the biggest share of seats in the previous rounds of the first free and fair elections in six decades.
However, the Muslim Brotherhood has said it will not use its electoral success to impose its will on the drafting of a new constitution and will work with all rival political groups on the blueprint.
“This new parliament does not have the mandate to choose a new government, but rather to choose an assembly to write the constitution,”
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from El Arish in the Sinai Peninsula, said.
Our correspondent said forming the assembly to write a new constitution is where the real battle will lie.
It will be less about the coalition parties in the new parliament, but
“more about the ideas they have for the identity of the new Egypt”, she said.
The success of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and other Islamist parties has prompted Western concern for the future of Egypt’s close ties to the US and peace with Israel.
“The party’s winning of the majority in the new parliament does not mean going it alone in writing the constitution without consideration for the rights of other Egyptians, or ignoring the political forces which did not get a majority or failed in the parliamentary elections,”
Mohamed Mursi, the FJP head, said.
“All political forces and intellectuals in Egypt, regardless of their political and religious allegiances, will take part in writing the constitution.”
Mursi’s comments were published on the Muslim Brotherhood’s website on Tuesday.
The run-up to this round of polls has been overshadowed by the deaths of 17 people last month in clashes between the army and protesters demanding the ruling military step aside immediately.
But the military generals have insisted the election process will not be derailed by violence.
Source: Al Jazeera
Islamists continue to reap votes in final round of PA elections
By Heba Fahmy
Daily News Egypt
CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Al-Nour Party continued to sweep the polls in the third and final round of elections, according to preliminary results.
Around 2,600 candidates competed over 150 seats in nine provinces during the third and final round of lower house elections.
Some 14 million were expected to vote in Daqahleya, Qaliubiya, Gharbeya, Minya, Qena, North and South Sinai, Marsa Matrouh and El-Wadi El-Gadid.
The FJP led the polls in most of the nine provinces, while the Al-Nour came in second place, followed by Al-Wafd, the Egyptian bloc and the Revolution Continues Alliance.
In the Delta province of Daqhleya governorate the Revolution Continues, an alliance of revolutionary youth movements, came in second place in the first constituency which included the capital city of Mansoura.
The fact that Mohamed Ghoneim, prominent liver transplant doctor, backed the Coalition’s list, securing a lead over Al-Nour.
” Dr. Ghoneim, as the Godfather for the Revolution Continues gave it more credibility and helped the true revolutionary youth get more support,”
Mostafa El-Guindy, former leading member of Al-Wafd Party and current member of the Coalition, told Daily News Egypt.
Many voters had believed that Ghoneim was running on the list, but El-Guindy corrected the misconception, adding that he supported all the Coailition’s lists in Daqahleya.
The Revolution Continues won only four percent of the vote in the second round of elections due to lack of funding and campaiging, according to El-Guindy.
“But we managed to put out a small TV commercial and we increased funding from the donations of our respectable members, which boosted our image and popularity in the third round,” he explained.
Al-Wafd and Al-Nour battled over third place, while the Egyptian Bloc came in last in Daqahley’s first constituency, according to preliminary indications.
Daqahleya is considered the birthplace of several prominent leaders of Al-Wafd, including Fouad Serag El-Din, founder and leader of the party under King Farouk’s reign, and Secretary General of Al-Wafd Fouad Badrawy, who tops the party’s list in the first constituency.
On his part Mohamed Sallam, who tops the Egyptian Bloc’s list in the first constituency in Daqahleya, said that the bloc came in second place after the FJP in the districts of Belqas, Talkha and Gamasa, adding that he didn’t know what the case was in Mansoura.
The Bloc had came in third place following the Islamists in the first round of elections. However, it receded to fourth place in the second round with only 1 percent difference between it and Al-Wafd, which came in third place.
Sallam said that there were minimal differences bweteen Al-Wafd and the Bloc, stressing that the Bloc maintained it’s position in the elections.
“The fact that we are ahead of Al-Wafd in an area like Belqas, where Al-Wafd has strong roots means a lot,” he told DNE.
The Egyptian Bloc consists of liberal and leftist parties included the Free Egyptians, founded by business mogul Naguib Sawiris, Al-Tagammu Party and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.
On the other hand, Wafiq El-Ghitani, leading member of Al-Wafd Party said that people refused to fall victim to religious blackmail used in the first round of elections, giving Al-Wafd an edge over the Egyptian Bloc.
El-Ghitani accused the church of backing the Bloc, an allegations which the latter has repeatedly denied.
The Egyptian Nationalist Party, an off-shoot of the disbanded National Democratic Party, made minimal gains with speculation that it will fail to snatch a single seat in parliament.
Tawfiq Okasha, owner and manager of Al-Fara’een channel, led the party’s list in the first constituency. Voters described Okasha as a “drama queen”, believing that he brought his party down in the elections through his media campaigns against the revolutionaries, instead of boosting its popularity.
Each party or coalition must win at least half a percent of the national valid votes in order to enter parlaiment.
In Daqahleya’s second and third constituencies of Dekernes, Sherbine, Mit-Ghamr and Aga, the FJP and Al-Nour maintained their lead, followed by Al-Wafd and the Revolution Continues.
As for the single winner seats, Mubarak loyalist, as well as former judge and lawyer Mortada Mansour is expected to compete in the run-offs against FJP professionals candidate Khaled El-Dib in the fifth constituency of Mit Ghamr and Aga.
Preacher Ali Qatamesh is also expected to face-off with FJP canddiate Hassan Gom’aa in the second constituency.
Al-Adl Party’s Ahmed Shoukry, former member of the National Front for Change, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2010 elections, could make the run-offs against FJP candidate Emad Shams or Al-Nour’s Mohamed Imbaby.
The re-runs [run offs] are scheduled to take place on Jan 10-11.
In West Qena, the FJP and Al-Nour led the competition as well, while Al-Horeyya party, an off-shoot of the disbanded NDP came in third place, followed by Al-Wafd.
“These were religious elections not political and the Islamists exploited religion to garner more votes,”
said Mostafa El-Gales, member of Qena’s Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution.
The FJP and Al-Nour managed to exploit the tribalism in Qena and included several strong tribesmen on their lists, according to El-Gales.
The Coailitions of the Youth of the Revolution’s votes were split between the Revolution Continues and Al-Wafd to counter the Islamists with the aim of maintaining balance in parliament.
In South Sinai, The FJP came in first place, winning two of four seats while the Reform and Development Party, an off-shoot of the NDP, and Al-Wafd each raked in one seat.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters chanted “God is great” when the results were announced by the judicial committee, congratulating each other in triumph for winning 50 percent of the vote.
In North Sinai the FJP, Al-Nour and the Reform and Development Party each won one seat out of four, while the FJP and Al-Wafd battled over the final seat, according to preliminary results.
“The Islamists are very powerful here; the Reform and Development Party fought hard to win a seat,”
said local activist and journalist Ashraf Enani.
The FJP and Al-Nour dominated the competition in the first two rounds, with the FJP winning over 60 percent and Al-Nour winning around 24 percent. – Additional reporting by Yehia Zakaria.
Source: Daily News Egypt
Egypt Forms Parliament
By Staff (sgl/isa/lac/Ucl)
Cairo, Egypt, Feb 28 – Egyptian parliament was fully constituted on Tuesday after the inauguration of the 270 members of the Shoura Council (Upper House), dominated by an Islamist majority like the People”s Assembly.
In an act reviewed by the official MENA news agency, the legislature was composed of 180 delegates elected in two phases of voting and 90 lawmakers that, under the Constitutional Declaration in force, were due to be appointed by the ruling generals of the military junta.
Members of the Shoura Council elected as speaker of the Shoura professor Ahmed Fahmy, the candidate nominated by the Freedom and Justice Party that is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, and two vice presidents from other groups.
The Freedom and Justice Party won the elections with 59 percent of the votes for the Senate, which is equivalent to 106 of the 270 seats, followed by the islamist salafist El-Nour party.
The two chambers will meet on March 3 to elect members of the Constituent Assembly that will draft the Constitution, after which they will perform the presidential election to complete the process of democratic transition following the resignation of Hosni Mubarak.
Source: Prensa Latina