Conflict & Justice

Polls close in third round of Egypt elections


Egyptians men sit outside a polling station in Minya, some 350 kms south of Cairo, during the third and final round of landmark parliamentary elections on January 3, 2012.



Polls are closing in the nine governorates voting in the final round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections today, with another day of voting tomorrow but that signifies the beginning of the end of the country's month-long elections process. 

Few major incidents, aside from some campaign and procedural violations, were reported today, despite worries of unrest in areas like North Sinai near the Gaza border. 

Egyptian and foreign reporters covering the third round of elections posted updates to Twitter from the field. 

Max Strasser, an Egyptian journalist and editor, said:

"Almost no reports of violence around elections, even in Sinai, Qena, etc. Remember how everyone said this was going to be a 'bloodbath'?"

In Qena, a province with a sizeable Coptic Christian population in Upper Egypt, Betsy Hiel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says:  

"Voters in #Qena say chose Islamic current cuz liberals had 30 years but if no reform it's back to Tahrir"

In Rafah, a restive town in North Sinai and on the border with Gaza, Farah Saafan, reporting for Daily News Egypt, an English-language daily, says her and her colleague were briefly detained and interrogated by army officers:  

"Stopped by army at Rafah border, fones confiscated and photo gallery searched.. gave us phones bk after swift interrogation!"

In Minya, about 150 miles south of Cairo, Al Jazeera English producer, Adam Makary, posted that he saw reporters with Egypt's state TV eating from lunch boxes normally reserved for the army at a local polling station (complete with photo of said lunch box).

In Mansoura, in the northern Dakahlia governorate, multimedia journalist, Eric Knecht, said the army prevented him from recording a woman's accusation of fraud:

"At polling station mansoura woman claims witness fraud we came to tape her at station, army kicking us out"

Local daily, Al Masry Al Youm, reported "unprecedented turnout" in Qena, and campaign violations by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party that halted voting in Qalyubiya governorate. 

The Freedom and Justice Party, along with the Salafist Al-Nour party, have so far dominated the polls in the country's first parliamentary elections. 

Read more GlobalPost coverage of Egypt's historic election here and here

(Correction: an earlier version of this post mistakenly described Betsy Hiel as an employee of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. She is a correspondent for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.)