Agencies and Muslim Brotherhood

Tough sell
Nazif tries to stay on message about reform despite NDP election losses…
Angry judge makes election fraud clear… More election related violence in Gharbiya… Plus, Egyptian police arrested 16 members of the Muslim Brotherhood early on Friday, a day before another round of parliamentary elections… Around 540 Brotherhood supporters have been arrested since the beginning of the parliamentary elections earlier this month, and about 300 are still in prison… Meanwhile, a few interesting comments on how democratic the process might or might not be…

Nothing but parliament
“A strong showing by the Muslim Brotherhood in parliamentary elections has caught Egypt’s rulers off guard and could shake up politics in the biggest Arab country,” Reuters says… CS Monitor explores the idea of legalizing the groupMeanwhile, a man was killed in a fight between supporters of two rival politicians north of Cairo on Wednesday in the second death in violence linked to Egypt’s legislative elections… Plus, “the European Parliament delegation which went to Egypt to witness the first phase of parliamentary elections there has decided not to go back for the final phase. The delegation felt that there was little point in returning because of the negative impressions it had on 9 November. These impressions have since been confirmed by NGOs and subsequent events in Egypt…”

Judicial escalation?
The biggest election related news on Wednesday was the Judges Club request for army intervention to guarantee the sanctity of polling stations… Get links to early Wafd and Filbalad’s coverage of that on
On the English side, the Judges club call for army protection only makes it to UPIPlus, more details on election day battles from CSMonitor… A Brotherhood big wig explains the situation… (Direct link to the brotherhood leader’s comment in the Guardian…) 150 brotherhood members still being held… And, somewhat over-worked musings on US influence on — and reactions to —  the elections, featuring quotes like: “The Americans have reassessed the situation and come to the conclusion that fast and vigorous democratization in Egypt is impossible and will work in an undesirable way…”





the results… again

Heading into Saturday’s run-offs in the second stage of the 2005 parliemantary elections, most political chatter is about the increasing gains being made by the Muslim Brotherhood. The group’s spokesman Issam al-Aryan told AFP his movement “had won at least 13 seats in the second phase of the elections, without runoffs needed, bringing their seat tally to 47, trebling their 2000 score even before the elections’ third and final stage.” One interpretation for this sudden turn of events, was proffered by Negad el-Borai, a human rights advocate and elections’ monitor,  to AP: “The people are saying we hate the ruling party, we hate the government and we will get anybody to rule us except you.” In any case, the vote was marred by violence (see earlier links below), and the United States expressed “real concern“, and said it expected the Cairo government to ensure a vote free of intimidation. According to the NY Times: “The violence was seen as a government effort to create chaos to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from making further gains in the second round of three-stage parliamentary elections.”

Elections everywhere
On TV all afternoon Sunday, in conversations around town… there’s more interest than usual in the parliamentary goings-on… Here’s AP’s election sum-up… and a Yahoo slide-show of election day scenes… (Earlier reports below…)

2nd round of parliamentary elections..
With 1,706 candidates competing in 72 constituencies in 9 provinces … AP reports initial complaints of irregularities… Unknown thuggery and fires in Alexandria… (More.., a little more..) Meanwhile, police detained more than 80 supporters of an Islamist candidate… This report says 200… (More)

1st stage election results..
“Egypt’s ruling party won 112 seats in the first stage of the country’s parliamentary elections, or about 70 percent of those available… The Muslim Brotherhood doubled their parliamentary seats in the elections’ first round alone, bringing concerns of what parliamentary debates will be like, and whether or not the government will crack down on the group in the next 2 rounds… Slightly differing takes on the issue from AP, AFP, Reuters and BBC… 

Newsweek looks at post election Ayman Nour…Meanwhile, journalists were reportedly harassed during the parliamentary elections… Probably a good thing, then, that the US ambassador — according to Khaleej Times — went undercover to monitor the elections in Zamalek…CS Monitor looks at the attack on a Jazeera journalist and other violations against the press during the heady election season… Several violations were observed during the first phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the vice president of the European Union Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott, said.“The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies monitored state controlled media during the election campaign. The result surprised even the monitors: Broadcasters and newspapers dedicated between 58 and 95 percent of their election coverage to the ruling National Democratic Party… Post editorial takes Mubarak to task for not keeping promises, says US should nurture pro democracy movement and not regime…Most NDP stalwarts retained their seats… The Nov. 9 results in the electoral districts of Waily, Boulak el-Dakrour and Manshiat al-Qanater were invalid and the polls should be repeated, the court ruled… Workers doubtful of election jobs pledges…Reuters looks at a few Gamal scenarios Judges report on presidential elections comes out… VOA looks at young people’s participation in politics