- December 14, 2005
Egypt opposition protests alleged election fraud
Hundreds of Egyptian opposition Kefaya demonstrators gather in the streets to protest against the governement and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in downtown Cairo on Monday 12 December 2005. EPA/KHALED EL-FIQI
Cairo – Hundreds of opposition activists marched Monday through downtown Cairo to protest alleged fraud in elections that gave Egypt’s ruling party a parliamentary majority.
In the month-long elections that were marred by violence that left 10 people dead, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) garnered at least 313 seats, 75 per cent of the parliament, the People’s Assembly.
The elections, which took place from November 9 to December 7, left the Islamist opposition Moslem Brotherhood with 88 seats in a stronger position than in the outgoing parliament.
However, secular opposition candidates were only successful in winning a handful of seats.
The opposition accuses the NDP government of skewing election results to weaken the opposition’s position in parliament.
Government critics also allege that security authorities used teargas bombs and rubber bullets to prevent voting at certain polling stations and arrested hundreds of opposition campaign workers.
’Today we are protesting against thuggery, fraud and the results of the elections in some constituencies,’ said Mohamed Ouf, member the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya), a coalition of opposition members that organized the protest.
Five other protestors held a coffin wrapped in a black cloth on which was written ’those entering the polls, be prepared for your deaths!’ referring to the ten deaths resulting from clashes mainly between phalanxes of security police with machetes and potential voters.
The three stages of the elections were marred by violence reminiscent of the 2000 parliamentary elections that also left at least 10 dead.
It was the country’s first legislative elections following a constitutional reform that allows for several candidates to run for the presidential elections.
The results of the presidential elections that took place September 7 also sparked similar condemnation by the opposition and triggered a public protest against alleged election fraud.
Public protests have been on the rise since President Hosny Mubarak announced the reform of Article 76 of the Egyptian constitution.
The protests have been mainly led by Kefaya, which denounced the reform as hollow and demanded wider freedoms and further democratic reforms.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian president boosted the representation of women and Coptic Christians in parliament Monday with the appointment of 10 deputies.
Five women, among them three Copts, will join the People’s Assembly when Mubarak officially opens the new session December 17. There were two Copts among the men appointed.
Only four women and one Coptic Christian were elected to the 444- member body in the recent elections.
The selection of the 10 members that the president appoints, traditionally include women and Copts, the largest sect among the country’s Christian minority to counteract their underrepresentation.
Due to court orders that halted the polls in six districts, 12 seats have yet to be elected.