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Egyptian Elections

Egyptians have voted in the third and final round of parliamentary elections. They were to elect the remaining one-hundred-thirty-six seats in parliament. Runoff elections will be held in districts where no candidate wins at least fifty percent of the vote.

In the first two rounds, candidates supported by President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party won two-hundred-one out of three-hundred-two contested seats.

Those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood won seventy-six contests. The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 with the motto, "Islam is the Answer." Though candidates affiliated with religious groups were barred from the election, members of the Muslim Brotherhood ran as independents. So far, other opposition groups have won twenty-five parliamentary seats.

During the elections, there have been incidents of violence. One Egyptian has been killed since the voting began on November 9th. Now, the independent Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said that during the third round police fired into a crowd at an election site in the town of Baltim, killing another Egyptian and wounding many others. Gasser Abdel Razak, a member of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights told The New York Times newspaper that there were also reports of "the blocking of polling stations by security forces, preventing voters from reach the polling stations."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says that the U.S. is concerned "that violence has intruded upon these elections":

"It is the responsibility of the Egyptian government to provide an atmosphere for all Egyptians where they feel free to express their will at the ballot box in a peaceful manner; that they don't feel. . . .intimidation or they are not barred from voting."

Elections in Egypt, says State Department spokesman McCormack, "are an important step in the democratic reform process."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.