• December 9, 2005
  • 3 minutes read

NDP wins majority and people anger

NDP wins majority and people anger

NDP wins majority and people anger
Preliminary results in Egypt’s elections gave the leading opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, a record 20 percent of the seats in Parliament after a four-week election marked by bloodshed.

The results – released privately Thursday by an official in the Interior Ministry, which oversaw the election – came a day after eight people were killed as the police battled to stop voters reaching polling stations in Muslim Brotherhood strongholds.

In Wednesday’s runoff polling, the Muslim Brotherhood won 12 seats and the National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak and its allies took 111 seats, said the ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

If those results are confirmed, the count from Wednesday’s runoffs would give the ruling party and its allies 333 seats, or 73 percent of Parliament, and the Muslim Brotherhood 88 seats. Other opposition parties and independents would have 21 seats. Twelve seats are undecided and reruns are expected to be held. The Parliament holds 454 seats, 10 of which are appointed by the president.

The results mean the Muslim Brotherhood – a group that is banned but tolerated with restrictions – has won almost six times the 15 seats it held in the outgoing assembly. The ruling party had held 398 seats, independents 23 and opposition legislators had 16.

Under U.S. pressure to bring about democratic reform, Mubarak gave the Muslim Brotherhood unusual leeway in the campaign, but his security forces cracked down after the first round of voting on Nov. 9 when it became evident that the Islamic group had far more popular support than expected.

In Wednesday’s voting, police officers in riot gear blockaded numerous polling stations in opposition strongholds.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood hurled stones and Molotov cocktails and cornered security forces in some towns Wednesday’s killings brought the death toll in the elections to 10 people. Hundreds have been wounded and more than 1,000 arrested, mainly supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The United States had criticized the level of violence even before Wednesday’s fatalities. “We’ve seen a number of developments over the past couple weeks during the parliamentary elections that raise serious concerns about the path of political reform in Egypt,” a State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli, said Tuesday.

The fighting was particularly severe in the Nile Delta on Wednesday.

Government supporters, some armed with machetes, attacked voters who had been pushing to break through police lines outside a polling station in Zagazig, 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, northeast of Cairo.