Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood losing most of its seats in Parliament
Egypt's main opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, said Monday that it had lost most its seats in Parliament in an election it claimed had been "rigged and invalid". "All night the electoral committees in the different constituencies have produced results and then changed them," senior Brotherhood official Essam el-Erian told AFP. "These elections are rigged and invalid," he added.
According to the country's law, one-third of Egypt's elected parliament is up for re-election every three years. November 28th marked the first round of elections for the lower house of the parliament.
Brotherhood spokesman Walid Chalabi said the group had failed to win any seats outright in the first round of voting and that just 21 of its 130 candidates were sure of making it into next Sunday's second-round run-offs. In the last Parliament, the Brotherhood held 88 seats. Officially, though, the Brotherhood is an unrecognized party by the Egyptian government and thus must run their candidates as Independent.
Initial indications showed the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Hosni Mubarak had made large gains in the 518-seat Parliament.
It should be noted that Human Rights Watch reported several instances of voter fraud and intimidation. On his part, Egypt's Minister of Information Anas Fekki has issued a statement saying that despite initial reports indicating that the elections had been a success, the Higher Electoral Committee is investigating a number of alleged violations and difficulties. "The HEC received a number of reports of breaches to the electoral laws in a number of districts and responded by invalidating the ballot boxes in those districts," read the statement. It added that while the government awaits the committee's final report, it is confident that those irregularities were not representative of the overall elections."