Monday and Tuesday Egyptians will be voting again to choose the share of parliamentary seats to be allocated with the single-member election: more than 4000 polling stations are open in the capital Cairo, and Alexandria, the second largest city of the country and in other governorates such as Luxor, Damietta, Fayum and Port Said.
The two day phase of the election comes just after the landslide victory obtained by the Freedom and Justice Party (PLJ) of the Muslim Brotherhood, with 36.62% of the vote, in the first round of legislative elections last November 25.
According to the results released over the weekend by the High Electoral Commission, the conservative party ‘Nour’ of the Salafis came in second place with 24.36% of the vote. Immediately after the two Islamically inspired parties, came the Liberals with the Egyptian blockade of 13.35% of the votes. Ibrahim Abdel Moez, president of the High Electoral Commission has called the voter participation rate as “historic” with a turnout rate of 62% for these first elections since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak, last February, after 18 days of popular protests.
Local press sources reveal “the bitter struggle that looms between the Islamic forces” in view of the ballots this week and the next elections, that is, between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis. “The second round ends the honeymoon between the Brotherhood and Salafis” wrote the newspaper ‘Al Akhbar’, stating that they are competing in Alexandria and Damietta, the Nile Delta. Upcoming events at the polls, emphasize local sources, will be an opportunity for liberals to try and earn votes in the wake of the “Islamic wave” and their losses in the first round because they are ”divided” into six lists that have managed to earn, altogether, 29.39% of the vote.
Meanwhile, the winners of the Islamist parties have addressed Western countries’ concerns offering ”reassuring” tones. In a meeting with the British ambassador to Cairo, Mohamed Morsy, president of the Muslim Brotherhood, confirmed a commitment to democracy, respect for religious freedom and the “protection of the rights of all Egyptians, regardless of creed, race and color”.
The newspaper ‘Al Masry Al Youm’ reports instead of the withdrawal of many protesters from Tahrir Square, where some sit-in demonstrations, now in their 17 th day, continue, by Sufis and others, even if the epicenter of the protests has been significantly depleted .
A few hundred people remained in the square last night launching an appeal for people to boycott the upcoming elections. The protesters also rejected the government that the Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri is ready to form. Over the weekend, the new chief executive, appointed on 25 November by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to form a “government of national salvation”, he assured that the formation of the Cabinet will be completed by Wednesday.