At least six people were killed and hundreds were wounded when voting was held on Wednesday in several regions in Egypt in the last round of the country's parliamentary elections. Candidates vie for 120 seats in the 454-seat parliament in the Sinai Peninsula, the Red Sea Coast, the Nile Delta, Sohag, and Aswan on southern Egypt.
Police confirmed the six deaths, and the Interior Ministry accused the The Muslim Brotherhood of instigating riots in the northern town of Damietta. Police in the capital of Cairo said more than 500 people had been injured in election violence in four provinces, and more than 80 people were detained, the AP reported.
Government supporters armed with knives, bottles and machetes attacked voters lined up trying to get into several stations, sparking clashes with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's main opposition movement. In Zagazig, 50 miles northeast of Cairo, and Sohag, 240 miles south of the capital, security forces blocked voters from reaching the polls.
So far, the election has been marked by significant gains by The Muslim Brotherhood. Despite these gains of the group, which is not officially recognized as an official party, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his ruling National Democratic party appear to have maintained a majority.
Nonetheless, 76 seats were won by The Muslim Brotherhood, compared to 15 seats when the last parliament ended its term.
According to Reuters, The National Democratic party will most likely maintain control of parliament with a two-thirds majority, ensuring that it will hold on to control of any vote on constitutional amendments.
Elections have been marred by violence at polls, with many accusing Egypt's government of being behind the violence in an effort to curb political gains of the Brotherhood.
Legal disputes over last week's voting results resulted in delayed voting in some areas on Wednesday. Voting had initially been planned to take place for 127 seats, according to a source in the Muslim Brotherhood.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )