Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Egypt: Low turnout for parliamentary elections

Egyptians are voting in a second round of parliamentary elections. So far, the turnout has been low in the nine governorates holding run-offs, where a total of 52 seats are being contested.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 36.6 per cent of the 9.7m ballots cast last week, while the Salafist al-Nour Party with 24.4 per cent. These are the first democratic elections in over three decades, and since the ousting on former president Hosni Mubarak.

Further waiting is set to take place later this month and in January. Egypt electoral system dictates that two-thirds of the 498 seats in the lower house of parliament, the People's Assembly, will be picked through proportional representation, using lists drawn up by parties and alliances.

The remainder of the seats are selected via the first-past-the-post-system, with individual candidates required win more than 50 per cent of the votes to avoid a run-off contest.

Only four seats were won outright in the first round, the remainder 52 are to be decided in the secondary round. Twenty four of the seats are being contested by the FJP and al Nour.

On Sunday 4th December, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned from politics during Mubarak's three-decade rule, urged its rivals not to contest last week's results.

The FJP's deputy leader, Essam al-Erian said: “We all believe that our success as Egyptians toward democracy is a real success and we want everyone to accept this democratic system. This is the guarantee for stability."

The secular Egyptian Bloc came third in the first round with 13.4 per cent of the vote, followed by the liberal Wafd Party with 7.1 per cent and the moderate Islamist Wasat Party with 4.3 per cent. The Revolution Continues, a group formed by youth activists behind the uprising that ousted Mubarak in February, won 3.5 per cent.

BBC News, AP, AFP, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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