Tuesday’s papers: Final election results and international media criticism

Both state-owned and independent newspapers lead with news of the final results of the most controversial parliamentary elections held under President Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Ahram bears on the top of its front page the headline “439 seats for the National Democratic Party and 65 for opposition and independents in the biggest Egyptian parliament.”

According to the report, the National Democratic Party (NDP) won a sweeping majority, while the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which took 20 percent of parliament’s seats in the 2005 elections, won one single seat for Magdy Ashour after the withdrawal of the Brotherhood from the run-offs.

While the liberal opposition Wafd Party won six seats, the leftist opposition Tagammu Party won five seats. In addition, one seat is allocated in parliament for each of the opposition Al-Ghad, Al-Salam, Al-Gil and the Social Justice parties.  

The paper quotes Safwat al-Sherif, NDP secretary-general and speaker of the Shura Council, as saying that the proportion of the parliament’s total number of seats (20 percent) won by opposition and independent parties reflects the real political situation in Egypt, and is reasonable and balanced.

Al-Akhbar, another government-owned paper, which does not add anything substantial to Al-Ahram’s news, reports that the NDP won 55 out of 62 female quota seats, with one seat for Wafd and six for independents.

On a different front, Al-Gomhorriya brings attention to Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif’s statement on the proceedings of the 2010 parliamentary elections. Its top headline reads: “I challenge the notion that there was any interference by any authority in the elections.”

Nazif said, according to the coverage, that the shock of unexpected defeat for the banned group’s candidates pushed them to make false allegations against all authorities including High Elections Commission.

The paper quotes Nazif as saying that “the (2010) parliamentary elections are a new beginning,” calling on all parties to develop a support base to able to go into competition in the upcoming elections.

Reporting on the same issue from a different angle, Al-Wafd reports that the international media accuses the NDP of carrying out blatant violations and rigging through bullying inside and outside of electoral commissions.

According to the report, American daily The New York Times insisted that the ruling party decided to sweep away any opposition candidates who have acquired significance or influence, which pushed the MB and Wafd to boycott the second round of elections.

In the same report, American TV network CNN said Egyptians used Twitter to expose the infringements of the elections charade.

In related developments, independent daily Al-Dostour posts on the main spot of its front page a headline which reads “Ezz’s council is void.” The article writes that the Independent Coalition for Elections Observation has called for the resolution of parliament and an investigation into vote rigging.

The Alliance insisted that the dissolution of parliament is a necessary, urgent step toward the reform of the electoral system to guarantee the transparency and fairness of the electoral process.

Al-Dostour also adds that Reuters reported that the turnout in election run-offs did not exceed 15 percent due to the reluctance of Egyptians to participate in polls overwhelmed by rigging and fraud.

Finally, Al-Shorouk, independent daily, runs a sarcastic headline: “The most important guests of the national parliament: 5 Tagammu, 6 Wafd and 1 Brotherhood.”

The independent paper also focuses on the wave of violence that swept over Egypt after the announcement of the run-off results. In Assiut, four people died due to armed confrontations between candidates’ supporters. Matrouh witnessed unprecedented riots by the supporters of Gamal al-Shoury and Gad Abdel Allah, which resulted in the sabotage of public and private facilities including Banque du Caire and the Commercial International Bank. In addition, the police arrested 27 people for provoking riots in the Bassatin district in Cairo.   

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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