Update: Electoral violations, scuffles and a low turnout reported in run-offs

Scuffles erupted between supporters of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Salafi-led Nour Party at a polling station in Omar Ibn el-Khattab School in Ain Shams on Monday afternoon. Members of the army intervened to stop the disturbances, which broke out after voters were "directed" to vote for candidates from the Nour Party.

Earlier, security authorities in Isna, Luxor, reopened six polling stations that had been closed due to a gunfight between two feuding families. Members from the Halayel family had prepared an ambush for four people belonging to the Turki family, who were getting in a private car to go to a polling station. The clash left three Turkis with bullet wounds.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian human rights group said this morning that its elections monitors have been harrassed by members of the military in Luxor and Kafr al-Sheikh while observing the runoffs for the first phase of the parliamentary elections.

In the first of its reports on the electoral process, One World Foundation said that monitors were unable to record polling at Teeba School in Luxor as an army officer told them to delete the clips they had filmed. Members of the military also blocked monitors from observing at Salah Eddin School in the same governorate, the report said.

It also said that the organization's observers were denied access to polling stations in Kafr al-Sheikh Governorate's cities of Hamoul, Biala and Baltim.

The report detected delays in opening some polling stations, as well as the continuation of unlawful campaigning by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and independent candidates in Cairo, Alexndria, Port Said, and Kafr al-Sheikh.

Some stations did not contain lists of registered voters, the report revealed.

On the second day of the first round of elections, last Tuesday, police allegedly assaulted observers from the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement. Police from Heliopolis police station attacked them physically and accused them of "attempting to film a polling station," the association's head, Ahmed Fawzy, told Al-Masry Al-Youm. Fawzy described the alleged accusation as illegal and said it was part of the Interior Ministry's violations of the electoral process.

Earlier in the day:

Polling stations in Egypt are witnessing a low voter turnout today, the first day of run-offs for the first phase of the parliamentary elections that began on 28 November in nine governorates.

Some voters, however, waited outside polling stations before they officially opened at 8 am.

Although polling stations in Cairo remain calm and tightly secured by police and army forces, the voter turnout is higher in other governorates.

The run-offs are taking place in 27 constituencies in nine governorates: Cairo, Alexandria, Assiut, Luxor, Kafr al-Sheikh, Port Said, the Red Sea, Damietta and Fayoum. This round will determine 52 winners out of 104 candidates.

The run-offs are for single-winner candidates rather than list-based ones. Only four candidates for the single-winner seats have been declared winners.

Islamist groups have a strong presence in the run-offs. Out of the 104 candidates, 48 belong to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and 36 to the Salafi-led Nour Party. The Egyptian Bloc, a coalition of liberal and leftist parties, has 14 candidates. The Wafd Party and Egypt National Party each have one candidate, and there are four independent candidates.

According to the head of the High Election Commission, Abdel Moez Ibrahim, results for the list-based seats during the first round show that the Freedom and Justice Party are leading with more than 3.5 million votes, followed by the Nour Party with nearly 2.4 million votes, and the Egyptian Bloc with around 1.3 million votes.

Wafd Party lists came fourth, followed by the Wasat Party and lastly the Revolution Continues Coalition.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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