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Egypt’s Islamists claim more seats
Egypt’s Islamists claim more seats
 CAIRO & ALEXANDRIA, Egypt - Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood claimed Monday to have won another 13 seats in the second round of parliamentary elections, continuing its surge after securing a record 34 seats in the first phase.
Tuesday, November 22,2005 00:00
by Ikhwan web

Egypt’s Islamists claim more seats

Egypt polls claim first victim as violence spreads in Islamist bastion Alexandria.

CAIRO & ALEXANDRIA, Egypt - Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood claimed Monday to have won another 13 seats in the second round of parliamentary elections, continuing its surge after securing a record 34 seats in the first phase.

Spokesman Issam al-Aryan said that 13 Muslim Brothers, standing as independents, had won their seats in the first phase of the second round on Sunday.

He said that six of the banned but tolerated Islamist movement’s candidates had lost in the first round but that at least 35 would be involved in runoffs on November 26.

The official results of Sunday’s vote were not immediately available.

The Muslim Brotherhood shocked the country in last week’s first phase of polling by securing a 34 seats, twice its total after the 2000 legislative elections.

The second round was marred by deadly violence and voter intimidation Sunday as the regime appeared bent on curbing the surge of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The month-long polls that kicked off on November 9 claimed their first victim when the driver for an independent candidate was beaten to death by thugs hired by the ruling National Democratic Party, independent vote monitors said.

"What is happening today is beyond imagination. Which other country uses drugged-up thugs to beat up the sons of the nation? They are ready to use their knives to prevent citizens from voting," said local Brotherhood candidate Mahmud Attiyah.

Sources at Alexandria hospital confirmed the death of Mohammed Khalil, a 37-year-old father of three who worked as a driver for NDP renegade Hassan Hussein Hassan.

A second independent candidate, Seif Eddin al-Kabbari, was stabbed by unknown men in the Karmuz district of Alexandria.

An AFP correspondent reporting from a polling station in Karmuz said Kabbari had been present when clashes broke out between his supporters and NDP men.

The Mediterranean city is an Islamist bastion and saw most of the violence, which pitted supporters of the banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood against NDP supporters armed with knives and sometimes drugged or drunk.

While the NDP’s dominance of the political scene was not in doubt after securing 112 out of 164 seats up for grabs in the first phase, the Brotherhood won a surprise 34 seats, twice its tally in 2000.

With the second phase including many of their traditional strongholds, the Muslim Brothers could theoretically be on course for 100 MPs in the 454-seat People’s Assembly.

"The success recorded by the Muslim Brothers during the first phase sparked fear in the regime, which cannot bear the presence of opposition in parliament," said the Islamist movement’s number two Mohammed Habib.

There were several unconfirmed reports of other deaths and injuries from monitors in Alexandria and across the country when polling stations closed at 7:00 pm (1700 GMT).

Security forces used tear gas in Damanhur, northwest of Cairo, where violent clashes also took place. Monitors said criminals were released from prison and used by the NDP to intimidate voters in the Gharbiya governorate.

"The situation is getting worse and worse, and the operation is deteriorating in many spots, we have a lot of examples of interference in favour of the NDP," said Sherif Mansur of the independent Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies.

Security sources said some 200 Islamist supporters were rounded up over the weekend in ares taking part in the second phase of the polls. Dozens of supporters were also arrested across the country during the polling process.

"We insist on continuing the polling and these arrests are evidence of the ruling party’s interference in the elections," said Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Issam al-Aryan.

The Islamist movement announced it had withdrawn its candidate running against a Christian Copt from the NDP in the Moharrem Bek constituency of Alexandria.

The neighbourhood saw violent clashes a month ago after the CD release of a Christian play deemed offensive to Islam, but no incidents were reported Sunday.

The first phase, centred on Cairo, ended on Wednesday, amid accusations of widespread irregularities.

It also signalled the demise of the secular opposition, with presidential runner-up and Ghad party leader Ayman Nur crashing to defeat and an alliance of other parties failing to make any impact.

The second phase involves close to 1,800 candidates battling it out over 144 seats. Runoffs will take place on November 26 before the final phase starts on December 1.

Legal parties need five percent of parliament -- or 25 seats -- to field a candidate in presidential elections.

But independents require the approval of at least 65 members, according to a constitutional amendment which the Brotherhood says was designed to prevent it from running.

tags: parlimentary elections / Democracy / politics / Egypt / parliament / Egypt's islamists / political islam / opposition / first phase runoff / freedom / NDP / rigged elections
Posted in MB News  
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