Polling stations in Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections have closed amid charges of fraud and intimidation.
Opposition parties including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, whose candidates have stood as independents have complained of vote rigging in favour of President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party.
Muhamad Al-Beltaji of the Muslim Brotherhood said:
“People have been prevented from voting, our representatives have been stopped from entering the polling stations….the security forces have orchestrated the electoral process from beginning to end.”
The accusations have been denied by Egypt’s Interior Ministry and sporadic violence had been down played. Official results are due out on Tuesday.
Electoral Commission spokesman, Sameh al-Kashef was clear the poll had been fair: “The Commission so far has not received any claims of serious irregularities from candidates or voters in the electoral process.” he said.
Estimates for the election turnout are not expected to differ from previous polls which analysts say are regularly accompanied by public distrust in most of the political parties.
Our Cairo correspondent Mohamed Elhamy said, “ the first round of Egypt’s legislative elections have been overshadowed by the accusations.The ruling National Democratic Party is expected to win a landslide while many Muslim Brotherhood candidates will lose their seats.”