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Egyptians Return to Polls for Runoff Elections

Egyptians return to the polls Wednesday in a run-off for round two of parliamentary elections not due to end until early next year.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 12/21/2011, 11:10 AM

Egyptians on segregated Cairo bus
Egyptians on segregated Cairo bus
Flash 90

Egyptians return to the polls Wednesday in a run-off for the second round of the first parliamentary elections to take place since former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power.

Elections have not been peaceful, however, as protests continue to mar the process with violent riots by those who insist the military council is not moving fast enough to hand over authority to civilian authorities and implement reforms.

The two-day runoff is being held to pare down the field for individual candidates, from a total of 118 contenders to 59 winners for the available seats in the 498-seat new parliament.

The formerly outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has so far continued to emerge as the big winner in the second of three phases of the parliamentary electoral process.

The first round saw the Islamist factions win 65 percent of the vote, and in the second set, thus far two Islamist parties within the faction are contending for the seats in a third of the country's districts, the AFP news agency reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood's newly-named Freedom and Justice party won 39 percent of the votes in phase two of the parliamentary polls, with 49 candidates still to be sorted out in the runoff. The hardline Salafi Islamist al-Nour party, which makes the Brotehrood appear "modearte," claimed more than 30 percent of the votes.