Egyptians flock to the polls for second day of elections
REPORTING FROM CAIRO -- Throngs of Egyptians voted for a second day Tuesday in parliamentary elections that were surprisingly peaceful as the country appeared excited and determined to fulfill the so far elusive promises of the revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
Lines snaked and last-minute campaigning echoed across nine governorates as the first round of a multistage election drew what Abdel-Moez Ibrahim, head of the election commission, called a “massive and unexpected turnout.”
The Egyptian Council for Human Rights reported Tuesday that it had received 964 complaints of voting irregularities. A majority of the grievances regarded polls opening late and illegal campaigning outside voting stations, most notably by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the ultraconservative Islamist Salafi Al Nour party.
Islamists are expected to win a major share of seats in parliament. Mamdouh Ismail, a candidate for Al Nour, predicted that the new assembly would consist mainly of “Islamists and real national” powers.
A few thousand demonstrators in Tahrir Square boycotted the elections, claiming the new parliament would be bring little change and be subservient to the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces. The military has refused to hand power to a democratic government until a president is elected in June.
Ibrahim said results for individual candidates in governorates, including Cairo and Alexandria, would be announced Wednesday. The results for candidates running on party lists will not be announced until the third and final stage of the voting in January.
Many of the country’s 50 million eligible voters have complained that the drawn-out elections are confusing. But turnout is likely to be much higher than during Mubarak’s three-decade regime, when millions of Egyptians stayed away from elections that were shadowed by thugs and widely seen as rigged in favor of the ruling party.
-- Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan
Photo: Two women cast ballots in voting booths in Cairo Tuesday on the second day of Egypt's parliamentary elections. Credit: Ahmed Ali / Associated Press