NDP official says Shura Council elections were rigged

A leading official in the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has acknowledged that election rigging did in fact occur in the Shura Council elections that took place last month.

“I don’t deny the existence of fraud and violations in some electoral districts, albeit not all of them,” said NDP Assistant Secretary Ali Shams el-Din at a Wednesday symposium sponsored by the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. However, Shams el-Din went on to defend the latest elections, saying, “For the first time, you had opposition candidates getting nearly as many votes as their NDP counterparts.”

According to Shams el-Din, the recent incident of election fraud was just one instance of a series of problems plaguing the NDP, the worst embodied in party elements that were damaging its reputation. He called for a purge of such individuals.

Opposition figures used the symposium to attack the elections and the NDP’s role in them, calling the recent round of voting “a bitter experience in electioneering.”

Referring to the Shura Council elections, Democratic Front Party Chairman Osama el-Ghazali Harb stated that all the elements of an election were present while sound electoral procedures were absent.

“What happened was a farce in which everyone participated to achieve their own interests,” declared Harb. His party boycotted June’s Shura Council elections on the grounds that they were illegitimate.

“Egypt suffers from a lack of political balance… there will be many casualties if President Mubarak disappears, as [Egypt] doesn’t have the necessary political depth to manage his absence,” Harb added. He predicted that the loss of Mubarak would create a political vacuum and lead to internal conflict in the country with unforetold consequences. “Egypt’s future is uncertain,” he stated.

Amr Hashem, a specialist in party matters at Al-Ahram Center, called on the Muslim Brotherhood during the symposium to return to prosthelytizing and leave politics behind, saying “this would be the best decision the Brotherhood has ever taken.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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