Also on Wednesday, the influential Judges Club called for the cancellation election results in constituencies where violence flared in Sunday’s vote, the second round of three to choose lawmakers to the People’s Assembly.
The justice minister said the government would increase the number of police to protect Saturday’s runoff parliamentary elections after widespread irregularities reported during Sunday’s round.
In northwestern el-Gharbiya province on Sunday, supporters of the National Democratic Party candidate, Mustafa Mohammed Kamal, allegedly blocked the roads in the village of winner Sayyed Jabur Habayeb, preventing students from going to school.
A rumour that Kamal’s supporters had kidnapped five schoolgirls led the independent supporters to attack Kamal’s village on Wednesday. They reportedly kidnapped 25 men, dragging one of them behind a tractor until he died, said a police official who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Police intervened and controlled the situation after arresting 75 supporters of Habayeb, the official said.
Sunday’s voting was marred by widespread violence, mostly clashes between Muslim Brotherhood members and NDP supporters. At least one person was killed.
Independent candidate Seif Eddin
Justice Minister Mahmoud Abu el-Leil said on Wednesday the government would increase the number of police to protect Saturday’s runoff polls after civil societies and human rights groups reported irregularities on Sunday.
“I agreed with the interior minister that we should have additional (police) protection of the judges, the voters and everyone who is taking part in the election process,” Abu el-Leil told a news conference. “The elections started clean and orderly, and I hope it will continue like this.”
He confirmed Tuesday’s results of the first round of the second stage of the election: The ruling party’s poor showing gave it only 10 seats, while its chief rival, the Muslim Brotherhood, won 13 seats. The NDP has now a total of 122 seats, compared with 47 seats for the Brotherhood.
Abu el-Leil downplayed a report issued on Tuesday by the Judges Club, a group of pro-reform judges, that criticised police for failing to prevent violence during the voting, particularly allowing armed men to break into polling stations.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters
“I think the statement of the Judges Club was meant to express solidarity of the judges toward their colleagues … especially as some riots and disorder took place and in one case two ballot boxes were destroyed,” Abu el-Leil said.
The group called for results from polling stations that saw violence to be annulled and for the military to replace police in protecting elections, saying the army was more neutral and held the respect of the people.
An administrative court in southern Egypt is looking into 20 complaints by candidates in Sunday’s election.
Dozens of supporters of the candidates have demonstrated after five ballot boxes were found discarded at a canal. The candidates collected the boxes and reported the case.