Egyptians vote to usher in democracy after revolution

Posted By: Pti
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Egyptians standing out of a polling boot as the nation takes its first democratic elections
Cairo, Nov 28: Riven by political differences and violence, Egyptians on Monday began voting in a historic three stage parliamentary elections to usher in democracy in the Arab world's most populous nation, nine-months after a popular uprising toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

The elections, clouded by violence, demonstration and confrontation between the ruling military and pro-democracy protesters, will be the first step in a transfer to civilian rule, promised by the ruling army council that replaced Mubarak in February.

Initially, 27 provinces will go to the polls in three separate stages in a long procedure until January to elect the 508-member People's Assembly or lower house of the parliament.

Today and tomorrow, ballots will be cast in the main cities of Cairo and Alexandria, as well as Fayyum, Luxor, Port Said, Damietta, Kafr el-Sheikh and the Red Sea province. A run-off is scheduled for December 5.

Over 50 political parties, along with thousands of independent candidates are running in the elections.

The second stage will be held on December 14 in Giza, Beni Sueif, Menufia, Sharqiya, Beheira, Suez, Ismailiya, Sohag and Aswan, with a run-off scheduled for December 21.

The third and final round will take place on January 3 in Minya, Qaliubiya, Gharbia, Daqahliya, North Sinai, South Sinai, New Valley, Matruh and Qena. The last run-off will be held on January 10.

The final results are expected on January 13. Voters have been asked to elect 498 members of the lower house of parliament, while 10 others will be appointed by interim military leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

The voters would again cast their ballots on January 29 to elect the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament.


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