A court has rejected the results in three constituencies that voted in the first round of Egypt's legislative elections and agreed to hear appeals in two other seats, judicial officials said Sunday.
The Nov. 9 results in the electoral districts of Waily, Boulak el-Dakrour and Manshiat al-Qanater were invalid and the polls should be repeated, the court ruled, according to the officials, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity.
The court ruled that three of the candidates in these districts had to change their designation from worker to professional. In Egypt, every voter elects a "worker" representative and a "professional." The system is often abused, with wealthy businessmen standing as "workers" to improve their chances.
Egyptians went to the polls last Wednesday in the first of three-rounds of polling to elect members of the 454-seat parliament. The second round is due to be held Nov. 20 and third on Dec. 1.
The reaction of the ruling National Democratic Party was not immediately known. The party has long dominated parliament and usually it appeals court findings against it.
The same court said it would consider the appeals of two well-known opposition candidates who lost in upset victories for the ruling party last week. Both candidates _ Ayman Nour of the al-Ghad Party and Hazem Abu Ismail, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood _ alleged ballot-stuffing in their complaints to the court.
The court said it would give its verdict Nov. 22 on the appeal of Abu Ismail, a nominally independent candidate, backed by the Brotherhood, who stood in the Cairo district of Dokki.
The verdict on the appeal of Nour, who was defeated in Bab al-Shariya, would be handed down on Nov. 29, the officials said.
Nour finished second to President Hosni Mubarak in September's presidential elections. Earlier in the year he became Egypt's best known government opponent when he was detained on charges of forgery.
The administrative court, which handles election cases, won respect for its independence in two rulings shortly before the elections. It voted in favor of allowing pro-Brotherhood candidates to use the slogan "Islam is the solution" after the ruling party argued that it violated the constitution.
The court also overturned a decision by the Electoral Commission and granted Egyptian monitors the right to enter polling and counting stations, AP reported. V.A.