Egypt's First Round of Voting Nears End

Egypt is nearing the end of its first round of voting in its first parliamentary elections since longtime president Hosni Mubarak resigned in February.

Voters in Cairo, Alexandria and seven other provinces are casting ballots for seats in the lower house of parliament. Tuesday is their second and final day of voting.

Officials say long lines formed again Tuesday at some polling stations. Al-Jazeera television quotes the ruling military council's General Ismail Atman as saying turnout could exceed 70 percent.

The rest of the country will vote in two later rounds expected to conclude in early January. Elections for the upper house will then take place, ending in March, after which the assembly will write a new constitution.
The influential Muslim Brotherhood, a moderate Islamist movement banned during previous decades, is expected to emerge as the largest power, but without an outright majority, when results are published in January.

The historic elections will determine whether the group's Freedom and Justice Party is poised to move Egypt down a more Islamist path after nearly six decades as an authoritarian secular state effectively run by the military.

Egypt's ruling generals have established a complicated electoral system that many fear will result in a legislature lacking credibility. Army generals have made clear the new assembly would have no right to remove a government appointed by the ruling military council.

Before the elections, nine days of clashes between protesters and security forces, with 42 people killed and more than 3,000 injured, had heightened fears of violence among supporters of rival candidates. But the voting has been peaceful.

fuente. La Voz de América,


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