Sunday, December 5, 2010

Elections round 2 so far...

By 2pm, there are a few things we know about the second round of parliamentary elections in Egypt today:
  1. 283 seats, more than half the total number of seats in parliament, are being contested today (meaning no candidate for those seats won the 50%+1 majority needed in last Sunday's elections).
  2. Of those seats, 188 are being contested between members of the same party - the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). 114 are being contested outright between NDP members, and another 74 are being contested between NDP members and independents running under the party's platform.
  3. There are rumors that in an attempt to fix its massive over-rigging last week, the goverment is rigging votes in favor of non-NDP candidates this time around. According to tweets and Al-Ahram's English online portal, an NDP candidate in Dakahleya's Aga district has withdrawn from today's runoff citing vote-rigging in favor of his competitor, a Tagammu candidate.
  4. Voter turnout is, as expected, noticeably lower than it was last week. According to the High Elections Commission (HEC), voter turnout last Sunday was 35% (There is strong suspicion that the number is vastly inflated. In Qasr el-Nil, a strategic district in downtown Cairo, only about 8.5% of registered voters cast ballots). We'll see what the "official" numbers are, but voter turnout might hover around 10% at the most today.
  5. Reports of violence, vote-rigging, polling stations opening late, representatives and monitors not being allowed into polling stations, and other irregularities have already been reported.
  6. Only 2 of 9 Wafd party run-off candidates headed the party's decision to boycott the second round of elections. Wafd party officials say those who disobeyed the party's order will be stripped of their party membership.
  7. Even if every independent and opposition candidate won their seat today - including those of the Wafd and Muslim Brotherhood who are boycotting - the NDP would still control approximately 80% of the seats in Parliament.
That's it for now, folks. Tune in later for more updates.