Muslim Brotherhood Stuns NDP in Egypt’s Runoffs

Muslim Brotherhood Stuns NDP in Egypt’s Runoffs

 Elections showed the Muslim Brotherhood’s strong presence among Egyptians. (Reuters) 
  – Semi official results of the runoffs in Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections showed the country’s opposition, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, posing a serious challenge to the dominant National Democratic Party (NDP).

According to semi official results Wednesday, November 16, the NDP grabbed 64 seats out of the 164 up for grabs in the first round that witnessed voting Wednesday, November 9 and runoffs Tuesday.

The banned, but largely tolerated, Muslim Brotherhood, however, emerged as the main player in the first round, grabbing 30 seats in the runoffs, in addition to 4 other seats that were settled without a runoff, a group source told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Wednesday, November 16.

Traditional opposition and other political parties grabbed seven seats, whereas independents grabbed 42 seats. The rest of seats are still to be declared or are bogged down legal rulings annulling declared results.

Most independents are NDP renegades, who decided to go ahead and seek a parliamentary seat on their own after being overlooked by the ruling party. Prior to the elections, NDP official stated that renegades would not be admitted back into the party’s fold even if they did pass. But it is not clear whether this will be the case now.

Major Victory

The stunning performance by the Muslim Brotherhood in the first round was enforced in the runoffs Tuesday after 30 out of 42 candidates made it to parliament, with leading figure Essam El-Erian accusing the NDP of cheating the Islamist group out of “six more seats at least”.

El-Erian told Al-Jazeera that rigging and irregularities cost the Muslim Brotherhood “unexpected losses”, citing Nasir City candidate Makarim El-Deeri, who was leading the polls, but NDP ceramics magnate Mostafa El-Sallab was declared victorious.

El-Deeri was the Muslim Brothers’ only female candidate in the polls.

In Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood members won seats in Al-Sahel, Dar El-Salam, Old Cairo, Nozha, Abdeen, Tibeen and Heliopolis.

In Giza, Muslim Brotherhood members won in Giza downtown, Hawamdeya and Ayatt.

In Beni Sueif, south Cairo, where several violent incidents took place and most of the injuries were reported, two Muslim Brothers won.

In Menya, a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, 100% of the seats at stake in runoffs went to the group members who won six seats, as per semi final results.

The Central Upper Egyptian governorate witnessed the loss of NDP heavyweight Mostafa Ammer, a brother of former minister of defense Abdel-Hakim Ammer.

In Assiut, Muslim Brotherhood won 12 seats compared to 9 that went to the NDP.

In Menoufiya, NDP chairman President Hosni Mubarak’s hometown, Muslim Brotherhood won four seats.

NDP Struggle

The loss of Hossam Badrawi, one of NDP heavyweights and a close aid and favorite to Gamal Mubarak, son of President Hosni Mubarak, lost his seat in Kasr El-Nile constituency to an NDP renegade, gave room to strong rumors of NDP differences and struggle between Mubarak’s henchmen (dubbed as the old guard) and his son’s new generation.

Hisham Mostafa Khalil, son of former premier Mostafa Khalil and a favorite of the NDP old guard won in Kasr El-Nile.

Also, another NDP heavyweight, Faida Kamil, lost the seat she retained for 33 years in Cairo’s Khalifa constituency.

In Giza’s slump of Imbaba, NDP candidates won, driving supporters of their rivals — NDP renegades — to set ablaze the NDP building in the area.

Witnesses said the attack by a group of between 30 and 50 men on the one-storey building took place late Tuesday, when Egyptian legislative elections turned violent.

“A group of men broke the windows of the building. Then they broke the door down, entered the building and set it on fire,” witnesses told Reuters.

“Police have arrested two men in relation to the incident … The group was made up of supporters of the rival candidate in the elections,” a security official said.

El-Erian distance the opposition, especially Muslim Brothers, from the incident, telling Al-Jazeera NDP supporters were to blame.

Voters in eight of Egypt’s governorates cast ballot Wednesday in the first round of an almost month-long three-phase parliamentary polls.

This first round of elections involved a total of 1,635 candidates vying for 164 of the People’s Assembly’s 444 seats that are up for grabs.

Cairo, Giza, Menoufiya, Beni Sueif, Menya, Assiut, New Valley and Mersa Matrouh are the governorates that witnessed the voting.

The second phase of polls is to take place November 20 (run-off 6 days later), with the third and final one taking place December 1 (run-off to be December 7) and the new parliament is to convene December 20.