Egypt enters first round of parliamentary vote, monitors fear fraud
Possible tampering has been reported during the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, according to some Egyptian monitoring organizations. Egyptians vote on Tuesday for the first round of a three-stage parliamentary voting process for the 454-member People's Assembly.
In several districts, polls showed opposition candidates in the lead over those of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP)--up until final vote counts were taken.
The Muslim Brotherhood, who poses the greatest challenge to the NDP, complained that irregularities in the November 9 tally cost them several parliamentary seats, forcing some candidates to runoff elections on Tuesday. Approximately 80 percent of seats contested in the Nov. 9 vote will be repeated in run-off elections on Tuesday.
The organization, one of the oldest Islamist groups in the Arab world, advocates gradual introduction of Islamic law and political reform. Several rallies have been held in recent days in protest of what the group has called a fraudulent count of last Wednesday's results.
One monitoring organization confirmed the Brotherhood's claims, saying that there was "cause for major concern," regarding the validity of the election's outcome, according to UPI.
"They disappeared for two or three or four hours," said one representative and founding member of "Shayfeenkom", a civil society organization that monitored the election. "In one case, they started the count with 16,000 votes, but came out of the room with an extra 6,000 votes," the representative added.
The group has presented an official complaint with the Egyptian Ministry of Justice as a result. The elections are considered a test of the government's commitment to democratic reform.