A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood was injured after attacks by NDP hooligans.

CAIRO, November 15, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Egypt’s election runoffs witnessed vote buying, voters’ bus loading, illegal collective registration, intimidation and intervention of policemen, an element that was unprecedentedly absent in Wednesday’s first round of election.

“Observers are reporting a disturbing escalation of violence throughout polling places in Egypt,” the Independent Committee for Election Monitoring said in a statement on Tuesday, November 15.

Seventeen people were wounded in violence between supporters of rival candidates involved in runoffs for the first phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the official Middle East News Agency (MENA) said.

Fifteen people were wounded in the Beni Sueif governorate south of Cairo, and scores were in a serious condition.

Within two month of the presidential elections that ushered veteran President Hosni Mubarak in a fifth-six year term last September, and less than six month of the constitutional amendments, the most populous Arab country has seen its one-month long parliamentary election in front of the backdrop of calls for political and economic reform led by the US.

Irregularities

Supporters of an NDP candidate in a Cairo’s district were busloaded from other Delta areas.

Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) were allowed by a court ruling to monitor the current legislative election contrary to an earlier decision by the election committee that banned them from entering polling stations.

The NGOs reported a number of violations in the eight Egyptian governorates ranging between intimidation to clashes.

A woman was shot and injured near a polling station in Old Cairo, according to hospital sources.

In Beni Suef, a group led by the NDP candidate beat Muslim Brotherhood supporters with wooden clubs, it said. In Giza, several people were injured in stabbings and beatings, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The independent Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) said in its report: “It (the violence) went as far as assaulting voters because they did not give their votes to the NDP candidate and assaults on the EOHR observers.”

“In Atfih, (south of Cairo) supporters of the NDP candidate threw stones and fired shots at the EOHR observer to try to stop him entering the polling station,” it said. Atfih is on the Nile south of Cairo.

The Brotherhood complained of many violations, including last-minute additions to the electoral register and steps to prevent its supporters from voting in some areas.

In Nasr City in northeast Cairo, where the contest is fierce between female Brotherhood candidate Makarim Eldardiri and NDP businessman Mustafa El-Sallab, Sallab’s organizers brought 12 busloads of potential voters to one polling station.

One of the passengers, Ayman Ahmed Abdel Ghani, told Reuters that he and 5,800 other employees of state-owned Arab Contractors were brought to the constituency to vote for Sallab after the company registered them en masse there.

Banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood, a main contestant in the current elctions, has spoken out of vote rigging.

“There were many irregularities and it will lead to rigged results,” said the Leader of the group, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, after casting his ballot in the Cairo district of Heliopolis.

In Helwan, south Cairo, the NDP candidate and Minister of State for Military Production Sayed Mashal offered employees in the ministry factories three months’ salary for casting their votes in favor of the minister, according to Reuters.