Round three of Egypt’s elections for the lower house of parliament has begun, and with another round to come next week there is little sign of voter fatigue as the queues stretch around polling stations.
Tuesday and Wednesday’s vote is likely to see the lead of the Muslim Brotherhood and the more hardline Islamist al Nour parties confirmed.
“Why don’t we try Islamists? We have tried seculars, liberals and communists before, and they ruined the country. So we should try Islamists this time and if it does not work well, it is not a problem, we can change them,” said one voter.
However the rise of the Islamists, who came late to the revolutionary movement that was spearheaded by liberals and more moderate groups is worrying some observers.
“The role of this parliament will be to continue the revolution by providing freedoms such as ending the emergency law and stopping military trials. The democratic process’s main role will be to move towards presidential elections, paving the way for the military to hand over power,” insisted a senior Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed Elbeltagy.
However police raids against pro-democracy and human rights groups monitoring the vote, including Western-backed monitors, have been criticised within Egypt and abroad. The government accuses them of illegally financing political parties, while their supporters say the army is trying to weaken oversight and silence opponents.