The day after: the dust is yet to settle

Dina Ezzat, Monday 29 Nov 2010

Only after the run-offs will the full political ramifications of the parliamentary elections be revealed

As Egypt woke up to a state of mixed reactions to the initial elections results, anticipation is already high for the next run-off phase, which will undoubtedly be rife with complaints and accusations.

Speaking from several governorates, spokesmen for the 130 Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidates leveled allegations of wide-scale rigging, insisting that the politically popular but officially banned organization would seek restitution for the injustices they witnessed.

"This was wide-scale rigging; the decision over the reaction is still to be decided by the leadership," said Mohamed Abdel-Hadi, a spokesperson for Hamdi Salah, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate for the Alexandria district of Mina Al-Bassal.

Hassan was one of three candidates who managed to run in the governorate of Alexandria. He is one of two losers who are complaining about intervention in favor of the ruling National Democratic Party's (NDP) candidates.

None of the 130 MB candidates won in the first round of voting. In a striking contrast to the 2005 elections, in which the organization quickly secured over 60 seats in the first round.

Similar reactions were voiced by representatives of many independent candidates, including those who are NDP members but who chose to run independently.

Speaking from Suez--the governorate that witnessed unrest yesterday as a result of opposition candidates being denied access to the polling stations--Mohamed Ali, a supporter of Al-Kadri Rasslan (an NDP/independent candidate) says his candidate is planning to pursue legal action to verify the "rigging that took place".

Meanwhile, in Mansoura, NDP candidates celebrated the election results.

"There are accusations of interventions to help the NDP candidates here, but things are generally quiet," says Nasser, a Mansoura resident, "There were no confrontations among candidate supporters."

According to Nasser, the NDP headquarters in Mansoura is being visited by joyful sympathizers. "It was a tough day but it ended peacefully," says Nasser.

In Essna, four candidates, all affiliated with the NDP, who were running either on behalf of the party or independently, are awaiting the run-offs scheduled for 5 December.

"There some minor clashes yesterday and today it is lobbying all over again," says Nadia, a resident of Essna.

According to Nadia, the next few days are likely to witness "much more money spent" than the past few weeks. "During the past few weeks there were some candidates paying LE200 or LE300 per person to solicit voters' support; today they are paying LE500," she says.



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