Initial results indicated Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has won a landslide victory in the first round of the Shura Council mid-term elections, the Egyptian Gazette newspaper reported Wednesday. NDP candidates gained 77 seats in the elections of Shura Council, or the upper house of parliament, council speaker Safwat el-Sherif was quoted as saying.
"Eleven candidates had already won their seats at the outset because they were uncontested," el-Sherif added.
The first round of Shura Council elections was held Monday to select 88 members out of 665 candidates for the 264-seat council, while 44 to be appointed by President Hosni Mubarak. Only two thirds, or 176 members, of the Shura Council are directly elected for six-year terms, while the remaining 88 are appointed by Mubarak.
On its part, Egypt's National Council on Human Rights (NCHR) said it had received 35 complaints on Monday's elections. The human rights organization listed some irregularities in the voting, including very low turnout, the closure of polling stations, the barring of monitors and civil society organizations from entering the polling stations, as well as violence.
Al-Gomhoria newspaper reported that candidates fielded by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most powerful opposition group, failed to win any seats in the consultative body. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced the results as a setback for democracy.
"With such an election, Egypt has become a laughing stock all around the world," Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan told reporters. The group accused the government of barring its supporters from polling stations and rigging the vote.