Egyptians head to polls for 2nd day of historic elections

10:02, 29 November 2011
World
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Fresh off their new opportunity...

Fresh off their new opportunity to vote in a post-Mubarak era, Egyptians will head to the polls Tuesday for the second day of the country`s parliamentary elections, according to CNN.

The voting this week marks the first time some Egyptians -- young and old -- have ever cast ballots.Citizens are picking members of the lower house of Parliament, which will be tasked with drafting a new constitution.

The head of Egypt`s election committee promised a smoother voting process Tuesday after logistical problems and illegal campaigning blemished polling in some areas Monday. Voters decried the late opening of polling stations and a delay in the arrival of ballots.

State TV reported that 25 people were injured in election-related violence.

A total of 700 complaints were filed, according to Judge Abdel Moez Ibrahim, head of Egypt`s election committee.

But many voters expressed jubilation at their chance to help build a new Egypt after a popular revolt toppled President Hosni Mubarak`s 30-year regime in February.

"Before, there was always cheating. Now -- I could be wrong -- but I think my vote will count," Mohamed Rida`a Mohamed Abdulla said as he left a Cairo polling station.

Some polling areas were segregated by gender. Lines at both men`s and women`s stations snaked around buildings for hours.

"It`s an awakening," one woman beamed at a polling station in Cairo. "I`m very happy, and I feel that even when I see old ladies hardly walking, it makes me feel that really Egypt is reviving."

The stakes are high for Egyptian women who worry that if Islamists gain a majority in the lower house of Parliament, their hopes for a more liberal life will be quashed.

Elections for the lower house are scheduled to take place in three stages, the last one of which is set for January. Upper house elections will run between January and March.

Egyptians have dozens of political parties and thousands of independent candidates to choose from. The once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, one of the nation`s largest organizations, is expected to perform well in the election.

Presidential elections will be held by June, according to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt`s acting ruling body. Military leaders have said they will hand over power to a new government when one is elected, but many Egyptians say they don`t trust the council and fear the military will cling to power.

Over the past two weeks, at least 42 people have been killed in clashes as protesters called for an immediate end to military rule. An additional 3,250 have been wounded, according to the Health Ministry.

Some Egyptians expressed skepticism or even boycotted the voting on Monday.

"There is no inclination that the judiciary is independent, so there is no way to prove the election will be free and fair," said Amr Hamzawy, a 32-year-old shopkeeper.

Despite the masses who flocked to polling stations Monday, some remained cautious about how much Egypt could evolve after one election cycle.

"We`re not changing in one month, or a year, or five years. It will take a long time to change from one system to the other," one woman said on the streets of Cairo. "We`ve been going with this system for the past 30 years, and it`s not like a button we push to change everything."

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