Opposition takes to the street

Ahram Online, Sunday 12 Dec 2010

Opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are taking to the streets to protest the results of the parliamentary elections, seeking the dissolution of the new parliament

Protestors chant "Fraud" as they make a small demonstration of about 100 opposition activists in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Dozens of former MPs are leading calls to protest the outcome of the recent parliamentary elections, and take the necessary legal action to dissolve the new parliament.

The vast majority of the former parliamentarians contested the 28 November elections without success, citing “blatant rigging” in favour of the ruling National Democratic party’s candidates who won approximately 86 per cent of parliament's 508 seats.

The opposition block in the outgoing People’s Assembly constituted 25 per cent of the seats, with 20 per cent for the Muslim Brotherhood alone.

In a press conference held yesterday at the headquarters of the National Democratic Front party in Mohandisein, the MPs that represented the Brotherhhood, the Wafd party, the pan-Arab would-be El-Karama party and some independents said they will "go international” with evidence of wide-scale vote rigging and election irregularities. The speakers also said they will start by going to local courts, including the constitutional court, to dissolve the parliament.

“We’ll resort to every legal and political means to dissolve the parliament,” former MP and El-Karama party founder Hamdeen Sabahi told Ahram Online, “That also includes calling on president Hosni Mubarak to do so.”

The former MPs will organize a demonstration at 1:00 pm today in front of the Supreme Court and tomorrow at 12 noon in front of the State Council.

The NDP’s sweeping 95 per cent victory in the first round of the parliamentary elections shocked the opposition, which scored approximately three seats only. The Brotherhood scored none. The oldest opposition party, the Wafd, was expecting somewhere between 20 to 30 seats in the two rounds, in tune with repeated statements by state officials over the past six months predicting a bigger share of parliamentary seats for both the Wafd and left-wing Tagammu parties.

Amid cries of foul play, both the Wafd and Brotherhood decided to pull out of the elections only a few days before the run offs, citing “blatant and mass rigging."

Independent election watchdog groups supported the claim. Moreover, several courts issued rulings canceling elections in some constituencies and making null and void the results of many others. The High Administrative Court issued a verdict on 4 December making null and void the election results of all the constituencies where voting was cancelled, as per previous court rulings. The High Administrative Court opined that the new parliament is overshadowed by irregularities.



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