Egyptian police shot the representative of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate as he tried to enter a voting station, security sources said on Tuesday, as allegations of fraud cropped up in elections for the country’s upper house of parliament.
Police prevented the man, who was trying to stand in for the candidate at the polling station, from entering a voting station in the northern province of al—Beheira and shot him in the leg when he resisted. He has been taken to a hospital for treatment.
Police also arrested six Muslim Brotherhood members in al—Beheira a few hours after polling stations opened for the mid—term elections of the Shura Council, Egypt’s upper house of parliament.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, has 14 members running in the current elections. The organisation is legally banned in Egypt, but places members in parliament as independents.
Reports of fraud have emerged from rights groups and opposition politicians as the voting proceeds.
Rights groups say they have observed several incidents of people being prevented entry to polling stations, particularly in districts where Muslim Brotherhood candidates are running The Brotherhood holds 88 seats in the lower house, but none in the upper house, and has complained about “corruption and irregularities” and accused security of arresting Brotherhood candidates and supporters.
Polling stations opened in Egypt Tuesday for the mid—term elections of the Shura Council — the consultative, upper house of parliament — amid complaints of corruption from the opposition.
There are 446 candidates, including 11 women, vying for 74 seats in 55 electoral constituencies. There are some 13 political parties standing.
Local radio stations played nationalistic songs throughout the day to encourage people to vote. The Shura Council elections usually have a low turnout. But this year, elections come amid heightened political debate in the country, and ahead of parliamentary 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.