Egyptian voters boycott boycotts

Egypt's first free parliamentary elections are entering a second day, with turnout after the first day described as very high. But the voting is still being boycotted by many, who are demanding the military rulers step down immediately.

­RT’s Anissa Naouai reports from Cairo that the first day of elections passed peacefully and it is “relatively calm” there. There have no been severe violations. The most common that Anissa heard were candidates coming up to actual polling stations and campaigning up to the end.

“On Twitter you can read about some people are actually tying to go into the booths with [voters]. There have been reports about some fights at the polling stations with people understanding that was wrong,” she reported.

According to independent US observers there was no violence or irregularities.

As Anissa reports, for all Egyptians – up to 40 million voters are to choose a new parliament – these elections are really important. Many of them are voting for the first time in their lives.

Egypt's National Human Rights Council, which is observing the country's elections, stated on Tuesday that there have still been a few violations.

"There are mistakes, there is the disrespect of the law, there is administrative confusion, there is weakness in proper organizing, there are problems in steering the electoral process," council head Hazem Mounir said.

Though from what is going on it is clear people are now split into two camps. One group believes that the military rulers are still in charge and will be essentially the top people monitoring these votes, so there is no point in voting. The others also disagree with the military officials, especially after the previous crackdown, but feel that if they do not come out and make their voices heard, they will effectively have given up trying to bring change Egypt.

Egyptians are voting for 168 of the 498 deputies who will form the new lower house of parliament. And this vote is only the first round of the country's first parliamentary election since the ousting of President Mubarak. Official results from the first round of voting are expected to be announced on Wednesday, but the final make-up of the lower and upper houses of parliament is to be decided only in March 2012.

Provinces divided into three groups, are voting on different dates. Elections to the 508-member People's Assembly, which is the lower house, are taking place on 28 November to 10 Jan 2012.  Elections to the 270-strong Shura Council, the upper house, are scheduled over the period of January 29 till March, 11 of 2012.

The overwhelming majority spoke with excitement about having a possibility to cast their ballot. Those who are less enthusiastic also headed to the polls in order to avoid a 500-Egyptian-pound (US$85) fine imposed by the ruling military on absent voters.