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Egypt ruling party wins two-thirds majority
12/9/2005
 

          CAIRO, Dec 8: Egypt's ruling party and allied independents secured a two-thirds majority in parliament, according to partial results announced Thursday, after the final day of polling in the legislative elections, report agencies.
Nine people were killed in clashes between police and Islamists during the last round Wednesday of month-long parliamentary polls, which have drawn US condemnation over electoral abuse.
Partial results released by the electoral commission showed the National Democratic Party of veteran President Hosni Mubarak and affiliated independents won at least 314 seats over three rounds.
The results give the ruling bloc a two-thirds majority in parliament and the ability to pass constitutional amendments or emergency laws, but its tally falls short of the 404 seats it mustered in the 2000 polls.
The main opposition force, the banned Muslim Brotherhood, won at least 88 seats in the 454-strong People's Assembly, six times the number of MPs it had in the outgoing chamber.
By clinching almost 20 percent of parliament seats despite fielding less than half of the maximum 444 candidates, the group founded in 1922 by Hassan al-Banna made the most serious dent in Mubarak's 24-year-old autocratic rule.
With more results to be announced Thursday and seven candidates involved in 12 re-runs, the movement, which has renounced violence after a bloody past, could still edge closer to the 100 mark.
Scores of polling stations were sealed off by police Wednesday, especially in areas where candidates representing the Muslim Brotherhood were contesting the final runoffs, fueling frustration that often spilled over into violence.
According to medical and security sources, nine Egyptians were killed in clashes outside polling stations, mainly between security forces and Islamist supporters.
Scenes reminiscent of the Palestinian intifada filled the streets of Nile Delta towns and villages in northern Egypt, as youngsters armed with stones played cat-and-mouse with riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
The independent daily Nahdet Masr described the situation as "a siege slapped on the Muslim Brothers" by the government.
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights reported that hundreds of polling stations had been closed nearly all day.
The interior ministry denied any attempt to prevent voting and insisted the election was "proceeding smoothly" and that the violence was instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood, whose candidates run as independents, conducted a well-crafted campaign under the slogan "Islam is the solution," but the scope of its gains surprised observers.
The movement advocates the implementation of Islamic law but has made conciliatory statements towards the country's Christian minority.
According to unofficial results, the final round saw rare victories for two prominent members of the secular opposition, one from the liberal Wafd and the other from the Nasserist Karama party.

 

KALIN, (Egypt): Egyptian men rally next to a police line stoping voters from approaching a voting station in the Nile Delta village of Kalin, north of Cairo, during the final stage of the month-long parliamentary elections Wednesday AFP Photo
 
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