Voters in nine Egyptian provinces have begun voting in runoff elections in the country's multi-stage parliamentary poll, which comes after days of deadly clashes between protesters and security forces in the capital.
Egyptian Election Process
- Under guidelines established by Egypt's interim military rulers, the elections for the People's Assembly (lower house of parliament) begin on the 28th.
- The election process for the lower house will take place in three stages in different administrative districts in December and January. Each district will have two days of voting.
- Elections for the Shura, the upper house, begin on January 29 and will end in March.
- The newly elected assembly will then write a new constitution.
- The ruling military council says a presidential election will be held before July 2012. The voting will pave the way for Egypt's transfer to civilian rule.
The voting Wednesday is taking place in mostly rural areas to decide contests in which there was no absolute winner in elections held last week.
Five days of clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square have killed at least 14 people, as demonstrators call for an end to Egypt's military rule.
The military council is overseeing a three-month parliamentary election process and has promised to hand power to an elected president by July.
Medical officials said two of the deaths happened Tuesday after security forces launched a raid on the square. Later in the day thousands of Egyptians rallied to protests the security forces' treatment of women.
Female protesters beaten
Television video has shown soldiers beating female protesters, dragging them by their hair, and in some cases, pulling off their clothing.
The violence has drawn U.S. condemnation. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the recent events in Egypt were "shocking," particularly the treatment of women.
"Women protesters have been rounded up and subjected to horrific abuse," said Clinton. "Journalists have been sexually assaulted. And now, women are being attacked, stripped, and beaten in the streets. This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform, and is not worthy of a great people."
The military council said Tuesday that it regretted the attacks on women, and said it would take legal action against those responsible for the abuse.
The military said some protesters had been provoking soldiers and destroying government property.
Demonstrators have accused the ruling military council of manipulating the country's transition process to retain permanent powers.
The party of Egypt's main Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ultra-conservative Islamist Al-Nur party dominated the first stage of voting for the lower house of parliament last month, which included Cairo.
Each stage includes a third of Egypt's provinces, with the final group set to vote in early January.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.