Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- More than 10 million Egyptians went to the polls on Tuesday in elections which pit the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) against the Muslim Brotherhood in the second-round of the parliamentary elections with a total of 133 seats still up for grabs.
The Brotherhood was expected to achieve a “historical win” while the governing party was hoping to minimize its early losses amid reports of widespread fraud.
If the elections proceed as planned, more than thirty Brotherhood candidates are likely to emerge victorious at the expense of NDP candidates and independents. The Islamist group obtained its biggest win in 1987 when it held 36 seats..
Elections have yet to begin in traditional Brotherhood strongholds such as al Gharbiyah, al Dakahleyah, al Bahriyah, Alexandria and al Sharikiyah.
For its part, the election committee of the ruling NDP, likely to lose an estimated 25 seats, held a meeting on Monday presided by its Secretary General Safwat al Sharif to decide on a plan to support its candidates in today’s election, in light of internal disputes in a number of regions.
The NDP has so far won 26 seats mostly in the capital with ministers, businessmen and leading party figures claiming victory.
Meanwhile, western diplomatic sources in Cairo indicated that a delegation representing the 8 most industrialized countries has arrived to the capital to oversee the vote after arguments between the government and opposition parties over alleged fraud.
Another delegation from the European Union was expected to visit 9 polling stations accompanied by a representative of the Ministry of Justice.
Sources indicated that the National Democratic Institute President Kenneth Wollack had also arrived in Cairo Monday to meet with officials and candidates and party leaders to discuss the elections. Francesca Binta, NDI’s director in Egypt said Wollack was to hold private meetings but would not elaborate further.