Egypt begins second round of voting

 

Egyptians in nine provinces have started voting in the second round
of the first parliamentary elections since a popular uprising ousted
president Hosni Mubarak in February.

Dozens of people waited in line outside a polling station in a school near the Pyramids in Giza west of Cairo, waiting to cast their ballots and dip their fingers in purple ink to prevent double voting.

The election, held in three stages that will conclude early next year, is the first since Mr Mubarak's departure and is expected to swing Egypt's government in a more Islamist direction.

Islamist parties took a majority of the seats contested in the first round, and many expect them to do at least as well in the subsequent rounds.

Voter Hussein Khattab, an accountant, said he planned to vote for the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, the big winner in the first round, which took 47% of the seats awarded so far.

"We have to try Islamic rule to be able to decide if it's good for us. If not we can go back to Tahrir," said Mr Khattab, 60, referring to the Cairo square that was the focus of the 18-day uprising that toppled Mr Mubarak.

"I want to have a constitution that will satisfy everyone," he said. "This must achieve democracy, social justice and equality above all else."

The Brotherhood faces its stiffest competition from ultra-conservative Salafi Muslims, whose Al-Nour bloc won an unexpected 21% of seats in the first round.

The liberal Egyptian Bloc, which took 9% of seats in the first round, is looking to increase its share and has vowed to beef up its presence near voting stations to ensure that Islamist parties are not violating the legal ban on campaigning on election days.

Many parties violated the ban during the first round by distributing flyers and chatting up voters outside polling places. The election commission has said that this time it will monitor polling stations for violations.

Many expect the Islamist parties to maintain their leads given the rural and conservative nature of the provinces voting. The Muslim Brotherhood, for example, was founded in 1928 in the Suez Canal province of Ismailiya, one of the areas voting today, and has a history of activism there. It is the most powerful political force to emerge since Mr Mubarak's departure.

The second round, which ends on Tuesday, will decide 180 seats in the 498-seat People's Assembly, the parliament's lower house. The third and final round is scheduled for early January.

While electoral competition has been fierce, it remains unclear what powers the new parliament, expected to be seated in March, will have.

In theory, it is supposed to form a 100-member assembly to write a new constitution.

But the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled the country since Mr Mubarak's fall, says the parliament will not be representative of all of Egypt, and thus should not have sole power to draft the constitution. Last week, the military appointed a 30-member council to oversee the process.

The Muslim Brotherhood has refused to participate in the council and is pushing for a stronger role for parliament.

Since taking power, the military has sought to protect and expand its special place in the Egyptian state, saying at one point that it would choose four-fifths of the members of the constitutional committee. It is also trying to protect its budget from oversight by a civilian body.

A strong showing by the Brotherhood in the elections could give it a greater popular mandate in its struggle with the military.

Nearly 19 million voters are eligible to vote in the second round in the provinces of Giza, Bani Sueif, Sohag, Aswan, Suez, Ismailiya, Beheira, Sharqiya and Menoufia.

The much weaker upper house of parliament will be elected in three more rounds that will end in March.

AP

Suggested Topics
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game