Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood predicts significant wins in elections

Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood predicts significant wins in elections


Essam Erian, spokesperson of the banned but tolerated Moslem Brotherhood, predicted to Deutsche-Presse Agentur dpa that the group’s candidates would win 34 seats out of the 164 up for grabs in the first round.

The results by the Brotherhood, which is widely considered the most popular opposition force in the country, will be closely watched as one indicator of the fairness of the polls, and consequently Egypt’s commitment to political reform.

Erian’s predictions took into account the results of the first day of voting on November 9 and the run-off on November 15. Official results were expected late Wednesday or Thursday.

The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) is expected to maintain its significant majority. The second and third phases of the elections are on November 20 and December 1.

The state-owned daily Al-Ahram said that preliminary results for phase one suggested that the Brotherhood won 18 seats.

In either case, the number of seats would be an improvement over the Brotherhood’s performance in the last parliamentary polls in 2000 when its candidates won 17 seats out of a total of 444 elected seats.

For the Brotherhood, these elections so far have differed from earlier ones because it was able to run a high profile campaign for the candidates it backed without interference by state security.

The Brotherhood has not been granted official status as a party because of the religious element in its political programme. Despite this it has for several elections fielded candidates as independents who were open about their affiliation with the group.

However, despite predicting ’reasonable’ results for the Brotherhood, Erian slammed the election results as fraudulent. He said that if the elections had been more transparent, the opposition could have secured one-third of the seats.

’(Vote buying) was very clear, and it was done by some NDP candidates and some former NDP members now running as independents,’ he said.

Even the state-owned Al-Ahram reported that the voting process was fraught with instances of thuggery and vote buying as well as clashes between supporters of rival candidates using pen knives.

dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur