President Hosni Mubarak's party on Sunday secured more than 80 percent of the seats contested so far in Egypt's legislative elections, a day after three people were shot dead in clashes at the polls.
Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) has won 233 of the 282 seats contested in the first two rounds of voting, despite inroads by Islamists who were all but absent from the last parliament, Egypt's state-run MENA news agency reported.
The NDP boosted its presence in the national assembly, securing 82.62 percent of the seats, after some 68 "independent" candidates declared their loyalty Sunday to the ruling party, MENA said.
A third and final round of voting for the remainder of the 444 elected seats will be staged over the next week, with a runoff scheduled on November 14.
The results followed the second-round runoff on Saturday in which police clashed with Islamist supporters in the Nile Delta who alleged police had prevented them from going to the polls.
Three people were shot dead, while a fourth died of a heart attack, police and hospital sources said.
According to the results, NDP candidates won 93 seats in Saturday's runoff, and another 18 won outright when the second round began on October 29.
Sixty-four of them were elected by voters as independents but later declared their allegiance to the NDP, the interior ministry said.
In the first round, 122 seats went to ruling party candidates -- around half of whom advertised themselves as independent. Four of them moved over to the NDP in the past few days, MENA reported Sunday.
Sixteen of the independent candidates who have won seats in both rounds are Islamists, all but one of them members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood which cannot field candidates on its own ticket.
The elections mark the Brotherhood's return to the national assembly after a 10-year absence.
The organization had 37 deputies in the parliament that expired in 1990, the year it boycotted the election. It participated in the 1995 vote, but none of its members were elected amid allegations of fraud.
Analysts attributed the gains by the Islamists and other opposition to the presence of members of the judiciary monitoring the voting, which they say has encouraged voters to cast their ballots and ensured greater regularity.
Voting has been divided into three stages, held on a geographical basis, for the first time to ensure compliance with a law passed in July that requires a member of the judiciary to be present in each of the country's 15,000 or more polling places.
Mubarak fills 10 seats by appointment, in addition to the 444 seats decided by elections.
Around a dozen other seats have been taken by the three main legal opposition parties: the liberal Wafd party, the Arab Socialist Nasserite movement, and the Marxist Tagamu party.
Only one Islamist and 12 other opposition members had seats in the last parliament. A score of winning candidates were still listed as independents with no party allegiance.
Scores of people died in the 1995 elections, while only six people have died in the current race. In addition to the four who died Saturday, two people were killed in election clashes in October -- CAIRO (AFP)
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