Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) won a sweeping majority of seats in mid—term elections for the upper house of parliament, the elections committee announced on Thursday.
The NDP won 60 of the 74 Shura council seats, and four went to opposition groups, Judge Intisar Naseem, chairman of the electoral committee, announced in a press conference.
Repeat elections will take place next Tuesday for 10 seats in five districts where candidates did not gain sufficient votes. Campaigning for the repeat elections begins immediately in the Sohaq, Qena, Aswan, South Sinai and the Red Sea districts.
Al—Tagamuu, al—Geel, al—Ghad, and al—Nassery opposition groups each won one seat in the council.
Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, fielded14 candidates but did not win any seats.
Brotherhood complains of “corruption and irregularities”
The Brotherhood complained about “corruption and irregularities” and accused security services of arresting Brotherhood candidates and supporters during the election campaign and as voting took place last Monday.
The Brotherhood is technically banned in Egypt, but places members in parliament as independents.
Essam al—Eryan, a prominent Brotherhood leader, said the government failed its first test since the recent renewal of Egypt’s emergency laws, independent daily al—Shorouq reported.
Mr. Al—Eryan confirmed that the Brotherhood would be running in the lower house elections, where it currently holds 88 seats.
There were 446 candidates, including 11 women, competing for the 74 Shura Council seats in 55 electoral constituencies. Some 13 political parties stood in the polls.
The elections come amid heightened political debate in the country, and ahead of lower house (People’s Assembly) elections and the crucial 2011 presidential elections.
The Shura Council, which reviews laws before handing them to the People’s Assembly for a final vote, was created by late president Anwar Sadat in 1980. It is composed of 264 members, of which 88 are appointed by the president for six—year terms. Half of the council is renewed every three years.