Egypt’s Elections Go Smoothly Amid Protests

Egypt votersWidal Abdel Ghany emerged from her polling place Monday holding up an ink-stained thumb.

Pictured: Women wait Monday outside a polling station in
Egypt, close to downtown Cairo. Lines were so long that authorities
extended the time to vote.

“Egypt, Egypt!” yelled the 49-year-old nurse after voting for the first time .

waited in lines that ran hundreds of yards outside polling stations
surrounded by police and soldiers in what many Egyptians regarded as the
first free elections in decades. Men and women were in separate lines
so long authorities extended voting by two hours. But overall the voting
was smooth, election monitors said.

Previous elections were usually rigged by the Egyptian dictatorships until the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Political opponents were banned or jailed in the past and election results were widely considered to be fraudulent.

elections are for the lower house of parliament and will be held in
three rounds over the next two months. But not all were pleased.

Protesters continued to occupy Tahrir Square,
where clashes between security forces and protesters broke out Nov. 19.
The violence sparked clashes across the country that lasted six days,
leaving more than 40 dead.

Demonstrators were
demanding that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, ruling since
Mubarak’s departure, be replaced by a civilian body until a president is
elected in mid-2012.

“We are having elections
during a sit-in, during demonstrations and violence by security forces
against civilians,” said Kamel Saleh of the Social Democratic Party.
“This is not a good atmosphere to hold an election because it will scare
voters, resulting in misrepresentation and skew the balance of power.”

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Source: Sarah Lynch, USA TODAY