Sunday, December 12, 2010

Egyptians protest outcome rigged parliamentary elections

Protest in Cairo (Photo AP)

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.
"Void, void, void," the protesters chanted, referring to the parliament vote, during the demonstration by several hundred people in downtown Cairo. And:'This is not a council, it is a cabaret."

Meanwhile president Hosni Mubarak neglected all signs that the voting had been massively rigged. In a speech before the NDP Parliament Bureau on Sunday he said that the the elections had been fair in spite of some irregularities. 'As chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) I was pleased with the majority secured by the party, but as  president of Egypt I would have preferred to see more representation by the opposition," he said.In his speech Mubarak acknowledged that irregularities took place, but said they only occurred in a few electoral districts and were promptly addressed by the Higher Committee for Elections.

The protesters on Sunday included members of opposition movements Kifaya (=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.
In a press conference held on Saturday at the headquarters of the National Democratic Front party in Mohandisin, the MPs that represented the Brotherhhood, the Wafd party, the pan-Arab would-be El-Karama party and some independents said they will "go international” with evidence of wide-scale vote rigging and election irregularities. The speakers also said they will start by going to local courts, including the constitutional court, to dissolve the parliament.
“We’ll resort to every legal and political means to dissolve the parliament,” former MP and El-Karama party founder Hamdeen Sabahi told Ahram Online, “That also includes calling on president Hosni Mubarak to do so.”
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, the oppostion got only 15 seats and independents won 65 seat. Analysts say that many of the independent candidates in fact have links to the ruling party, so that the NDP victory is about 96 or 97%.

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