Vote counting underway amid Opp protests in Egypt

Counting of votes was underway amid Opposition charges of ballot fraud.

Cairo: Counting of votes from the controversial parliamentary elections in Egypt was underway on Monday, amid Opposition charges of ballot fraud and protests at various centres.

More than 50 per cent of votes in the parliamentary election have already been counted, with a lead for the ruling National Democratic Party according to the operations room within the ruling party, a source within the High Commission for elections in Egypt said.

According to preliminary unofficial results, eight ministers as well as the speaker of parliament have won their seats.

Supporters of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, the only real rival of the ruling party, came out in protest outside counting stations, clashing with with police and flaying the "widespread fraud" in polls for the 508-seat parliament.

In the 2005 parliamentary polls, the Brotherhood had won a fifth of the legislature.

Re-runs are expected in 50 per cent of the constituencies and they are expected to be more violent than Sunday`s elections.
The important election comes ahead of next year`s crucial presidential vote which might grant 82-year-old Egyptian president Husni Mubarak a sixth term in office.

There are 41 million registered voters in Egypt, but turnout has traditionally been very low. Compared to the 2005 elections, the turnout has been low in polling on Sunady.

The opposition alleged that there were widespread cases of fraud during the polling. Protests marked the polling in several areas as the opposition and rights groups claimed that independent monitors were barred from visiting many polling booths.

There were also variable reports of thuggery, violence and shooting during the polling though no fatalities were reported.
Egypt had repeatedly objected to international monitoring of the elections and had promised that Egyptian civil organisations will monitor the elections fairly.