• 20:24
  • Thursday ,02 December 2010

MB says NDP rigged votes, mulls withdrawing from elections

By-Marwa Al-A’sar/Daily News Egypt

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Thursday ,02 December 2010

MB says NDP rigged votes, mulls withdrawing from elections

CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood accused Tuesday the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of ballot-rigging during this week’s People’s Assembly (PA) elections, and said it is considering pulling out of the race.

In a press conference held just hours before the official election results were announced, head of the MB Mohamed Badie said that “the vote for the group candidates increased 35 percent compared to the previous round.”
However, the preliminary results of the polls indicated that none of the Brotherhood-affiliated candidates won any seats in Sunday’s PA elections, while 27 members are supposed to compete in the runoff scheduled for Dec. 5.
Prominent MB member Essam El-Erian told Daily News Egypt that the group is discussing the option of withdrawing from the elections ahead of the runoff, but at press time no final decision had been made.
About 130 group members joined the race for the PA seats; almost half of them were MPs in the previous parliamentary round.
Badie recalled what the group said in October when they announced the decision to participate in the parliamentary elections.
“When we decided to take part in the elections, we wanted…to…stress the necessity that the people should practice their constitutional and legal rights and confront the corrupt,” Badie said.
“Unfortunately, the regime did not give any attention to our calls and those of the other political and honest [groups]…forged the will of the nation.”
Badie further described the regime as “the real opposition to the will of the nation.”
“The violations that took place on Sunday…prove the inability of the regime and the ruling party to gain votes,” he said.
In their testimonies at the conference, candidates affiliated with the group accused the authorities of being biased to the NDP as well as taking part in vote rigging.
Saad El-Husseini, who ran in the Gharbeya governorate, told reporters that he witnessed officials at a polling station receiving a LE 1,000 each as a bribe to forge the votes.
He also said that security forces broke ballot boxes, hit monitors and tore voting cards.
Mohamed El-Beltagy, another candidate in Qaliubiya, accused the authorities of preventing all of his representatives from entering polling stations during the vote and the ballot counting. El-Beltagy faces three NDP candidates in the run-off.
“How come I had to be present on my own in 289 polling stations to follow up the ballot counting?” he asked.
At a press conference held Sunday during the electoral process, NDP senior member Mohamed Kamal denied these allegations, describing the Brotherhood as “an illegal group.”
“The presence of these candidates who belong to an illegal group is in itself a manipulation of law and … a ballot-rigging,” Kamal said.
Candidates of the MB, which is officially banned from politics, typically run in parliamentary elections as independents. The Brotherhood had 88 seats in the outgoing parliament.
Interior ministry spokesman Tarek Attia declined to comment on claims of violations raised by some candidates during a press conference Sunday evening after the polls closed.
The US State Department expressed Monday concerns over these accounts. “We are…dismayed by reports of election-day interference and intimidation by security forces. These irregularities call into question the fairness and transparency of the process,” a statement read.