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Egyptians protest parliamentary vote results

By on December 13, 2010

Hundreds of Egyptian activists and members of opposition groups protested on Sunday against what they said were violations during a parliamentary vote that handed the ruling party a huge victory last month.

Opposition and independent monitors said the elections were fraught with ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and other abuses. Officials said the process was fair, all complaints were being checked, and any violations did not challenge the results.

“Void, void, void,” protesters chanted, referring to the parliament vote, during the demonstration by several hundred people in downtown Cairo.

“This is not a council, it is a cabaret,” they chanted.

Protests increased in Egypt before the parliamentary vote and activists threaten more before the 2011 presidential race. But demonstrations rarely number more than a few hundred and are usually quickly quashed by security forces.

The protesters on Sunday included members of opposition movements Enough and April 6, as well as Egypt’s two biggest opposition groups in the outgoing parliament, the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd party. Security forces surrounded them but allowed the protest to go ahead.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controlled a fifth of seats in the previous parliament, won only one this year. Just 14 of the 508 contested seats went to parties other than the NDP.

The Brotherhood boycotted the second round of the vote after winning no seats in the first stage, and refused to acknowledge the seat it won in the run-off.

Wafd also withdrew and refused to acknowledge the six seats it won after the second round. It called on successful candidates to choose between the party or parliament.

Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party secured about 80 percent of seats, while analysts said many of the independent candidates who secured most of the remaining seats have links to the ruling party.


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