Analysis: Egypt’s First Day of Voting
Sherif Tarek writes at AhramOnline that Egypt’s first round of voting in parliamentary elections on Monday took place with few violations. Despite the violence and upheaval that raged in Tahrir for the week preceding the elections, polling stations were able to function relatively smoothly, with the exception of delays and illegal leaflet distribution.
Meanwhile, Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argues that “many things went wrong on the first day of Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections.” Trager adds that the one clear lesson to emerge from the first round of voting is that “the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is poised for victory.” The Brotherhood had unparalleled numbers of supporters at polling stations, including some who illegally distributed leaflets advertising the FJP. He concludes that “there are other, non-theocratic parties and candidates vying in this election, of course. But they simply haven’t shown the will, or perhaps the ability, to organize and mobilize voters consistently across the country.”
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner praised the high turnout and absence of violence as benchmarks of a successful round of elections, while reiterating the Department’s view that the Brotherhood’s dominance of government is not a cause for concern in itself; rather, their employment of democratic principles and practices is significant.