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Egypt LiveBlog: The Latest on the Parliament Elections


2020 GMT: An EA correspondent checks in....

The High Elections Commission, claiming that complaints are very minor, says the ruling National Democratic Party has won 125 of the 508 seats so far. The Muslim Brotherhood has won 0.

Over coming days, 185 seats will have run-offs.

MP Abdel Rahim al-Ghoul of Nagga Hamadi in the province of Qena, accused of involvement in the murder of seven Coptic Christians in January 2010, is in a run-off.

Parliamentary correspondent Mahmoud Nafadi is noting continuing changes in the recorded votes, indicating rigging.

Our EA correspondent also notes the assertions of human rights groups in our 1925 GMT entry. She adds that the head of the Tagammu Party has added his voice to charges that representatives and voters were barred from polling stations.

1925 GMT: Human rights groups have denounced systematic violence, bribery, vote rigging, and other election-day violations.

“These elections were conducted without any degree of integrity or transparency,” said Magdy Abdel Hamid, Chairman of the Association for Community Participation Enhancement.

Polling station administrators dismissed delegates’ power of attorney authorizations as invalid and expelled other delegates on grounds such as insufficient space.

“Armed plainclothes men and women were seen in many voting stations, while delegates and monitors were not allowed,” said Hasiba Sahrawi, Deputy Manager of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program.

1920 GMT: The Associated Press reports that protesters set fire to cars, tires, and two polling stations, clashing with police who fired tear gas.

In the southern province of Assiut, police fired the tear gas at a procession of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, armed with sticks, of candidate Mahmoud Helmi. Elsewhere, supporters of independent candidates or of politicians defeated by rivals within the ruling NDP demonstrated. In Luxor, protesters set fire to cars and clashed with security forces. Five people were injured and 30 arrested. In the northern Delta region, about 500 backers of the secular opposition Wafd party clashed with NDP supporters in Gharbiya, with police firing into the air and shooting tear gas to disperse them. Other protesters set fire to two schools used as polling stations in Menoufiya and burned tires outside a station south of Alexandria, briefly blocking the main highway to Cairo.

1900 GMT: A number of opposition movements have called for a rally for Monday evening in front of the Journalists Syndicate, with demonstrators mourning the dereliction of Egyptian democracy, as well as the death of several voters during the poll.

The coalition is led by The Press Syndicate's Freedoms Committee, the 6 April Youth Movement, and the Popular Free Front, and is joined by a number of Muslim Brotherhood candidates who lost on Sunday.

1340 GMT: A claim comes through on social media that the National Democratic Party will squeak through with 500 of 518 seats in the new Parliament.

1204 GMT: Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian is simply refusing any comment on the outcome for his party, “[This] was done in the dark and we don’t know where the news agencies are getting their reports from. What are their sources?”

1200 GMT: Al Ahram summarises early results. Unsurprisingly, "the nine NDP Ministers who ran in this year’s parliamentary elections may have all landed seats in the country's new parliament".

Other prominent winners from the NDP: Parliament Speaker Fathy Sorour, Chief of the Presidential Staff Zakariya Azmy, Amal Othman. Safir Nour, and Mofeed Shehab in Mahram Bek.

Amidst the deluge of NDP victors, Al Ahram cites two definite or likely victories for the Tagamma Party and four for the Wafd Party.

1125 GMT: From another EA correspondent....

Egyptian television and state media continue to claim that these elections saw a the biggest voter turnout in Egypt's history. Coverage emphasises the introduction of the quota for women and suggests that violent incidents were less than expected.

Al-Ahram carries a statement from Sameh al-Kashef, the official spokesman of the High Elections Commission, claiming that the HEC has not received any "serious" complaints from candidates or voters so far. The NDP has lodged a complaint with the HEC, claiming that its candidates and supporters were violently attacked by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in a number of districts. They accuse Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

An NDP candidate has had to withdraw after a court rejected the papers for his candidacy. Hayder Baghdady was the NDP candidate for al-Gamaliya and Manshyet Nasr.

In contrast to the official picture, footage on an Egyptian blog shows chaos and violence and even the burning boxes of allegedly counterfeit votes.

1045 GMT: An EA correspondent checks in....

Osama Haykel, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Al Wafd newspaper, has assessed on Egyptian television that yesterday's violence surpassed that of all previous elections over the last 15 years. He complained that there were too many Candidates accompanied by enforcers to protect themseleves and threaten the opposition.

Haykel added that the closer the candidates got to the election date, the higher the price they paid out to opposition candidates and their enforcers: "If I am a candidate, I pay 1000EGP to the opposition candidates' thugs to come over to my side. Yesterday, candidates paid 2000EGP (about $350) to opposition thugs to join their side."

A journalist from Al Shorouk newspaper. voting in El Sahel, says that --- as she was standing in line --- the National Democratic Party candidate was paying voters in the queue 20EGP (about $3.50) each to cast their ballots for him.

0850 GMT: Support or Sarcasm? From Ahmed El-Sawi in Al Masry Al Youm: The NDP is performing a one-person show. It has acquired more than half the cake, while the opposition is battling for the crumbs.

"So kudos to the NDP on winning a game with no opponents."

0845 GMT: Hmm.... When the Higher Elections Commission announced yesterday that results would not be out until Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, rather than on Monday as expected, it claimed the delay was due to the "high number of candidates". However, the HEC's released figures indicate that the total fell from 5064 in the last election to 5033 yesterday.

0835 GMT: Despite numerous reports of violence and manipulation, senior officials of the ruling National Democratic Party claim the election was transparent and marked with integrity, denying that clashes were widespread.

NDP Secretary-General Safwat El-Sherif claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood was doing everything possible to spread a negative and false image: “I asked NDP candidates and supporters not to be provoked by the malicious attempts of this outlawed group. The NDP has done its best to ensure that the voting is clean and free from any irregularities.”

El-Sherif also attacked media coverage, “Most foreign TV channels are primarily interested in manipulating facts and covering one side of what is happening. These channels are generally biased and embarked upon holding interviews with certain political figures to convey a misleading view of the voting process.”

The NDP’s website accused BBC Arabic of disseminating “false information about the voting” and “refraining from relaying the real facts about the voting process.” Senior NDP official and Speaker of the Assembly Fathi Sorour added, “It is sorrowful that most foreign media channels allege that irregularities and rigging practices are rampant. I really wonder why such foreign media channels insist on painting such a false picture of the voting process.”

Alieddin Hilal, the NDP’s secretary for media affairs, claimed, “Most of the information which the NDP’s central operations room in Cairo has received from all over Egypt about the voting emphasise that violent acts are very marginal and are by no means effective to cast a pall of gloom over the entire picture of the voting.”

0725 GMT: Catching up with overnight news....

Even after polls closed, reports came in of further clashes, with Muslim Brotherhood supporters barred from voting. Photographs were posted of ballot boxes left open or with their locks broken. Videos --- posted in yesterday's updates --- of ballots scattered on the floor of polling stations are continuing to provoke heated comment.

There were also reports of candidates of the ruling National Democratic Party distributing food cartons from big-name hotels to voters.


1720 GMT: With polls now closed, we're going to take a break. We will be back early Monday morning to assess latest developments and provide ongoing coverage.

1715 GMT: The lead sentence in Al Masry al Youm's roundup is blunt: "The vote-buying business enjoyed a boom on Election Day, with a number of parliamentary candidates attempting to lure would-be voters with gifts.

1650 GMT: Polls will close soon. Several stations have reportedly shut early because of a shortage of ballots.

1635 GMT: News and Rumours of the Day. From an EA correspondent....

Youm 7, the privately-owned news website, claimed earlier today that, in the province of Kafr El Sheikh, representatives of parties were openly giving out Viagra.

The website has now apparently removed the link.

Youm 7 also offers a dramatic picture of a crowd armed with sticks.

The correspondent adds an account of a voter in the Roxy district of Cairo, denied a ballot at the last election, who was told yet again that her name had not been into the system. She was told that her name may be on a system in another area in Cairo where she could vote.

An election official admitted that the computer system is not regularly updated and does not even have half the names of residents. Other officials have been directly women to male-only polling stations.

Another woman standing nearby revealed she had the same problem, and it emerged that both of the denied voters were Christian. The second woman challenged, "Is it because I am Christian my name is not in the system? This country originally was ours before it became yours."

1630 GMT: Another clip claiming to be of ballot manipulation:

1615 GMT: general Tarek Attia, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, has said that clashes in Cairo and in several other parts of Egypt are common and have been brought under control.

Attia said the skirmishes were due to the intense rivalry between candidates. They had had no negative effect on the electoral process.

1610 GMT: Claimed footage, provided by the office of MP and independent/Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed El Beltagy, of his supporters being denied entrance into a polling station in Cairo. Beltagy is in the center of the screen.

1540 GMT: A reader has pointed us to an analysis which takes on added value in the context of today's events, "The Islamist Response to Repression: Are Mainstream Islamist Groups Radicalizing?", by Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Center.

1530 GMT: Footage posted on Facebook appears to show live fire in front of a polling station.

1510 GMT: A member of the High Elections Commission says the results will now be announced on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning due to the high number of candidates.

The Commission also has ordered the closure of 16 polling stations across five governorates because of irregularities and violence.

Three of the closures are in the Kafr el-Sheikh Governate.

1500 GMT: Joe Stork, the Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, was detained for about 30 minutes and then released.

1455 GMT: Seven deaths have now been confirmed in election-related violence.

1450 GMT: Independent candidate Gameela Ismail has accused the government of vote rigging in Kasr El-Nil constituency in Cairo.

Footage of an official being chased and challenged in Kasr El-Nil:

1448 GMT: Security forces have reportedly detained journalists Mohamed Gamal and Mohammed Saad after confiscating their cameras.

Police armored vehicles have stormed Balteem, in Kafr El-Sheikh, firing tear gas and live ammunition into the air.

1445 GMT: Muslim Brotherhood sources say Sobhy Saleh, the candidate in Alexandria's Ramleh district, was beaten by unidentified men and transferred to hospital.

1435 GMT: The Wafd Party, which appeared likely to make gains in today's elections --- indeed, some analysts claimed a deal between the ruling NDP and the Wafd to arrange the result to give the appearance of a viable opposition --- has accused the NDP, with the help of security forces, of rigging today's parliamentary election.

Party officials said NDP supporters injured the brother of one Wafd candidate. They claimed representatives were denied access by security forces and men in plainclothes to polling station, and they alleged widespread fraud in Cairo's Shubra and Sahel districts and manipulation of ballots in the Matareyya constituency, Cairo's Manyal district, and the Meet Ghamr district of Daqahliya.

1425 GMT: Claimed footage of men with swords and knives in front of a polling station:

1420 GMT: MP Hamdeen Sabbahy, one of the founding members of the National Association for Change, has said he will withdraw from the election because of widespread violations.

1410 GMT: Footage claiming to be of falsification of voting cards in Doumiat Governate.

1335 GMT: Clashes are reported as Mostafa Bakry, independent candidate in Helwan, joins 1000 protesters demonstrated against the elections.

1325 GMT: Trying to counter the blocking of their websites inside Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has launched a blog.

1320 GMT: Protesters cut the International Road in Kafr El-Sheikh to protest electoral violations. Police fired tear gas and live ammunition in the air to lift the siege.

1315 GMT: Al Jazeera English is finally airing live reports from the excellent Ayman Moyheldin. In addition to his summary of violence and irregularities, the shot behind Moyheldin shows the street outside a Cairo polling station --- contrary to the law --- filled with supporters of the National Democratic Party, blaring out music and messages.

Footage elsewhere in Egypt and testimony from witnesses shows other battles outside stations and voters blocked by authorities from casting ballots.

1138 GMT: Taking a short break --- back in the next hour for further updates.

1135 GMT: Independent candidate Refaat El-Basyouni is reportedly in hospital after being stabbed in Daqahliya.

Five people have been injured in clashes in Shubra between supporters of the Wafd and NDP candidates.

1130 GMT: Security forces have reportedly broken into polling stations in four villages in the Kafr al-Sheikh district and manipulated ballots in favor of National Democratic party candidate Essam Abdel Ghaffar.

1125 GMT: Yasmine Fathy, Ahram Online reporter, has been detained in Shubra.

1120 GMT: Egypt's High Elections Commission said that it has received only 10 complaints so far, the most serious involving a claim of supporters of rival National Democratic Party candidates shooting each other.

Meanwhile, there is a report of gunfire to threaten voters in Kafr Shibeen.

Zaki Amer, the Wafd Party candidate in Kafr El Dawar, says three of his deputies are detained.

1110 GMT: Claimed video of police preventing voters from entering a polling station:

1040 GMT: Reports of closures of polling stations, and Molotov cocktails hurled at an all-female station in Qena.

1023 GMT: Ahmed Saeed, a Al Youm El Sabaa journalist, has reportedly been kidnapped in Hamool in Khafr El Sheikh.

1019 GMT: Thousands continue to protest in front of the Suez Security Directorate, with 350 independent candidates staging a sit-in and claiming massive vote-rigging by the Government.

Al Masry al Youm has more on the barring of opposition candidates from voting stations and on the "disappearance" of Muslim Brotherhood websites.

An IT security specialist says, "I have tried to access using several proxies outside Egypt and it’s working fine, this means that someone blocked the traffic that comes and goes to from the Egypt international backbone. Only someone with privilege over the international backbone can do that in this case."

1010 GMT: Reports coming in of intimidation of journalists. Al Jazeera reporters in Suez were harassed and their equipment destroyed. Police interrogated the Al-Masry Al-Youm reporter in Mahalla, threating to confiscate his camera and to arrest him for 5 days. The newspaper's correspondent in Dokki had her press card confiscated and was asked to leave.

1005 GMT: Ismail Askary, the independent candidate in Kafr El Dawar, has allegedly been beaten by NDP supporters and is now in hospital.

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Hazem Farouk in El-Sahel says he was threatened by men in plainclothes as voters were turned away.

1000 GMT: A striking headline in Al Ahram: A girl, who passed away in 1990, is expected to vote for NDP [ruling National Democratic Party] candidate Kamal Moussa in [the] parliamentary elections".

0955 GMT: Witnesses claim state petroleum companies are bussing workers to vote for Minister Sameh Fahmy in Nasr City.

In the Seyouf district of Alexandria, hundreds of microbuses are bringing civil servants to vote. A witness claims they are selling their votes for LE20 to LE50 ($3.50 to $9) each. He adds that those who sell their ballot are being ushered into the polling station while others are made "dizzy at the door".

0950 GMT: Clashes are now being reported throughout Egypt.

More than 2000 people are protesting in Suez, submitting a letter to the President of the local election commission calling for a halt to the ballot.The demonstration comes after opposition party delegates were denied entry into the commission.

0935 GMT: Video has been posted of a polling station with scuffles and many ballot papers --- allegedly already filled out for the "right" candidate --- scattered on the floor.

0930 GMT: There have been violent clashes between National Democratic Party and Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Kafr al-Sheikh in northern Egypt. Representatives of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate have been denied entry to polling stations.

Fighting with knives and chains is also reported in Gharbiya, with security forces using tear gas and firing gunshots into the air. Three Muslim Brotherhood supporters are reportedly injured.

0925 GMT: The brother of a disqualified independent candidate has been shot in Mansoura while walking with supporters.

Foreign media have been barred from polling stations in Arish despite having an official permit from the Ministry of Communications.

0920 GMT: An activist claims the most serious clashes are now in Mahala, El Kobra, and Suez. The report adds that Muslim Brotherhood MP Essam Kamal was doused with gasoline and threatened with being burned alive.

0910 GMT: Police have encircled the Tareq Ibn Ziad School in the Sahel district of Shubra, Cairo, allowing only representatives of National Democratic Party (NDP) candidates into the polling station.

The Muslim Brotherhood claims that more than 100 supporters and representatives of its candidates have been arrested in Port Said.

0850 GMT: Al Jazeera's Ayman Moyheldin posts video of a street outside a polling station in a Cairo. Campaigning on election day is banned, but this supporter of a candidate for the National Democratic Party, has somehow gotten past security to blare music , who is endorsing an NDP-affiliated candidate, clearly got passed the layers of security and is blaring music.

0845 GMT: Muslim Brotherhood MP Mohamed al-Beltagy has filed a report with the general prosecutor, accusing security forces of arming men in plainclothes to assault his supporters.

0840 GMT: For those who read Arabic, offers locations and reports of developments.

0835 GMT: Violence has erupted outside a school in Mansoura in northeast Egypt. Men with chains fought supporters of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate.

Independent/Muslim Brotherhood candidate and current MP Akram al-Shaaer, detained with supporters and representatives of other Brotherhood candidates (see 0818 GMT), has been released.

In Giza, 30 polling stations were not opened on time, according to a Brotherhood spokesman., the main Muslim Brotherhood website, and Shahed2010, the Brotherhood's elections monitor, was off-line this morning.

0825 GMT: The Government, trying to counter claims of manipulation, has announced that 180 ink wells are being used for indelible thumbprints of voters. There are also 90,000 "transparent ballot boxes". 

0818 GMT: Al Jazeera's Ayman Moyheldin reports that current MP Akram al-Shaeer, running as an independent, has been detained in his constituency in Port Said.

Moyheldin also personally observed --- and posted a photograph of --- a polling station which was still closed 90 minutes after voting opened.

0815 GMT: Polls opened at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) across Egypt's 254 districts, each of which returns two members of Parliament. The vote is a prelude to the 2011 Presidential election, in which Hosni Mubarak may run for a sixth term. 

About 41 million Egyptians are eligible to vote, but most observers believe the results have been or will be manipulated --- through intimidation, propaganda, and political deals --- in favour of the ruling National Democratic Party, which is expected to win a large majority of the 508 seats.

The Wafd Party is expected to make nominal gains, but more attention will be upon the Muslim Brotherhood, which is officially banned but which has tried to field candidates as independents. About 130 remain on the ballots after others were disqualified by Egypt's election commission, which is appointed by the current NDP-dominated legislature. More than 1,000 Brotherhood supporters have been arrested in recent weeks.

Egypt has barred foreign observers.

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