Women vote in landmark Egyptian elections

On the second day of parliamentary elections in Egypt, people continued to line up patiently outside polling stations in the capital Cairo on Tuesday.

Despite fears of violence after a week of clashes between protesters and the military left 42 people dead, the atmosphere has been peaceful.

In Zamalek, an upscale neighborhood in Cairo, large number of women turned up to vote. Rawya Gamal a local volunteer said many showed extraordinary determination in casting their ballots.

"I think it's an important step. And to see so many women just walk out and stand for seven or eight hours, determined they are not going to leave, they are going to vote, because the longer they stayed, and the more problems we had inside, the more determined people were to stay and vote. And that, I think, that's just fantastic. And I was talking to one of the police men, and he said in 13 years of monitoring sort of all these like elections, he's never seen so many women," she said.

International observers have been allowed to monitor the elections. U.S. Congressman David Dreier said witnessing the process in Egypt made him value the right to vote.

"By the way, just being here has buoyed me tremendously. And given me a renewed appreciation for this franchise to vote, which - as an American, I take for granted. And I will no longer," said Dreier on the polls.

It’s predicted that the elections will see the Islamist parties shaping the country's new legislature, but it is still unclear as to how much influence the ruling military council will have in the new parliament.

The military will retain executive power, but the election will revive a parliament that had acted in the shadows under former president Hosni Mubarak, during his 30-year tenure.

Last week Cairo’s city center resembled a battleground of demonstrators seeking an end to military rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood's party and other Islamists are expected to do well in the polls but the outcome is difficult to predict under a complex and unfamiliar voting system of party lists and individual candidates. Voting will be staggered over the next six weeks.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »