News / Africa

    Voting Continues in Egypt's Landmark Elections

    Egyptian women show their inked fingers after voting in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 28, 2011
    Egyptian women show their inked fingers after voting in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 28, 2011
    Elizabeth Arrott

    Egyptians lined up for hours Monday to take part in the nation's first post-revolution parliamentary elections. While logistics for the staggered, three-month process are daunting, so far, voters seemed pleased to be able to make their voices heard.

    Victor Beattie's Q&A with David Farris, director of the International Studies Program at Roosevelt University in Chicago:

    The line stretched for blocks outside a polling station in Cairo, with some voters hopeful that this election, unlike those of decades past, will count.  

    Student Farah, her uncovered hair standing out in a line mostly of veiled women, said she came to ensure a good future for all Egyptians.

    "We want now to participate in everything in our country. I could participate last year, or the previous period, but I wasn't sure my voice will take the original steps in our process. Now I'm sure, insha'allah that my voice will be heard," said Farah.

    Major Alliances for Egypt's Parliamentary Elections

    Democratic Alliance for Egypt: Formed in June 2011, it was the first significant political coalition to emerge after President Hosni Mubarak's February resignation. The coalition is led by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and includes at least five other political groups. The alliance started out as a broad-based coalition of liberal and Islamist parties but some of its original members left due to ideological differences.

    Islamist Alliance (Alliance for Egypt): Led by the Salafist party al-Nour and includes at least two other groups. Its members were originally part of the Democratic Alliance but split because of a disagreement over the number of candidates they would be able to field in the elections. The Islamist Alliance formed in late September.

    Egyptian Bloc: The liberal coalition has lost members since its formation in August and now includes only the Free Egyptians, Social Democratic and al-Tagammu parties. The bloc says it hopes to bring together political forces that are committed to a civil democratic state based on a principle of separation between religion and politics.

    Completing the Revolution Alliance: Formed in October, the alliance includes youth, socialist, liberal and moderate Islamist parties. Most were formerly part of the Egyptian Bloc. Members include the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, the Egypt Freedom Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party

    Despite a crackdown in past days on anti-military protests in the capital's Tahrir Square, the vote was proceeding peacefully across much of Cairo governorate, one of several regions of the country taking part in this first stage of elections.

    The three month process is being hailed as a milestone for Egypt, a country dominated by a military-backed government for nearly 60 years. Political analyst Hassan Nafae said that as imperfect as the vote may be, it may answer a fundamental question.

    "This is a very, very important election in just one sense: It will, for the first time, show us who represents what exactly, because we really don't know," said Nafae.

    In Alexandria, where the two-day first round of voting also was underway, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party told VOA that in two districts where Islamist parties were popular, ballots didn't arrive until noon. He added the army was being cooperative, though, helping to establish security at polling places - a scene he described as "remarkable."

    Islamists hope to do well in this voting, both the Freedom and Justice party, and the more fundamentalist [Salafist] Al Nour party.  

    Marwa Mohammed, standing in line to cast her vote in Cairo, came to give her support to the Salafists.

    Fully covered in a niqab, she said the party represents her: "It will fulfill my future demands, God willing."

    Nearby, another voter hoped for a more mainstream government. Mariam, a dentist wearing the more common hijab, or headscarf, said her main hope is that this new wave of popular participation continues.

    "I'm really not sure how it will go, but I'm aiming for a moderate Egypt. I'm aiming for a better future for our kids and I need to see a more proactive people in the community, and more of a literate community rather than what we had before," said Mariam.

    Cairo-based analyst Nafae said that is likely to happen, even though he believes the parliament being elected now will be weakened because there will be no new constitution until next year, and the military vows to prolong its rule.

    "I am not optimistic about the next parliament, but I am optimistic about the future because I do believe that the Egyptian people are much more aware than before and they will work very hard until they achieve all the objectives of the revolution," said Nafae.

    The first round of voting ends Tuesday, with runoff elections set for two weeks from now. Other regions in the country will begin their voting next month.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora