Counting is now well under-way in the Egyptian elections, the first on a multi-party basis for twenty seven years.
Counting is now well under-way in the Egyptian elections, the first on a multi-party basis for twenty seven years. President Anwar Sadat's ruling National Democratic Party is expected to sweep home with a massive majority, and early results have already given victory to a number of President Sadat's top men.
SYNOPSIS: Electioneering in Egypt reached into every small town but here in Cairo the campaigning was fierce, often developing into massive street demonstrations in support of the major political parties. Early winners in the poll include a number of prominent Government members. Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil, and the Secretary General of the National Democratic Party, Fikri Makram Ebeid, both had convincing victories. With the elections so soon after the signing of the Camp David treaty, many voters saw it as a chance to declare their views on peace with Israel.
But already with the victory of the NDP in sight there have been charges of vote rigging. At one constituency near Cairo a second poll was called after irregularities in the voting were discovered. Two candidates of the Left Wing Unionist Progressive Party stood down from the election, alleging 'strange behaviour and forgery'.
The elections, in which three hundred and eighty two seats were at stake, have been presented by the Government as a further extension of democracy. But bitter feelings between the four parties provoked several violent clashes resulting in at least two deaths. But the threat of violence has been no deterrent to the voters. Some constituencies have had a ninety percent turnout. And with President Sadat currently riding a wave of popularity over the return of the Sinai Capital of El-Arish, some observers believe the elections could not have been better timed.