Egyptians vote in final phase of landmark polls

Egyptians vote in final phase of landmark polls

Egyptians vote in final phase of landmark polls

An Egyptian woman chooses her candidates at a voting booth as another dips her finger in ink after casting her ballot at a polling station in Minya yesterday. AFP photo

Egyptians lined up in front of polling centers in nine provinces to cast their ballots yesterday in the third and the last round of the country’s first parliamentary elections following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

Some 14 million voters in a third of Egypt’s 27 provinces are to elect 150 members of parliament. The two-day balloting is taking place in areas known as strongholds of Islamist parties and is unlikely to change the outcome of the elections.

Islamist parties are expected to consolidate their gains from the first two rounds and win the majority in the 498-seat lower house. An alliance led by the most influential Islamic group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ultraconservative Salafi group have gained nearly 70 percent of the vote in the first two stages.
Liberal and secular groups that led the uprising that forced Mubarak from power have performed poorly in the staggered elections, which started Nov. 28. The exact numbers of seats won by each group so far could not be known because of the complicated voting system Egypt is using. Final election results are due to be announced Jan. 13. One of the parliament’s first tasks will be to select a 100-member panel to draft the country’s new constitution.

Meanwhile, the murder and corruption trial of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resumed in Cairo yesterday, with prosecutors set to zero in on the fallen dictator. An ailing Mubarak, 83, who was wheeled into court on a stretcher, is accused of involvement in the deaths of protesters during the uprising that overthrew him in February. His former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six security chiefs were also in the dock, as were his two sons Alaa and Gamal who are being tried on corruption charges.

Compiled from AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.