Egypt choose between autocracy and Islamism

Voting began in Egypt Wednesday in 127 districts, the final day of a monthlong poll where a banned Islamic party has already become the official opposition.

President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party has maintained its two-thirds majority in the 454-seat parliament, but the banned Muslim Brotherhood, using candidates running as independents, has won 76 seats - five times its previous number.

The voting, which began Nov. 9, has been marred by violence and protests.

The Brotherhood claims authorities have arrested 1,400 of its members, many of them campaign workers, and in the last round of voting, police sealed off many polling stations to prevent Brotherhood supporters from casting their ballots.

While the U.S. government doesn't support the Islamist party, it has expressed concern to Cairo about opposition arrests and abuse of election monitors.

Analysts said the way parliament is shaping up, Egyptians have created a choice between Mubarak's autocracy and fundamental Islamism, according to UPI.


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