Egypt Begins Final Round of Parliamentary Elections

Egypt’s third round of parliamentary elections was underway Tuesday, and the Muslim Brotherhood is once again expected to sweep the final round of elections, thus winning the most seats in Parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood party won both the first and the second rounds of elections, garnering 37 percent of the votes in the first round and 36.5 percent of the votes in the second round.

The ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour Party came in second in the first two rounds of elections.

As The Associated Press reports, the outcome of the third round is not expected to change, as the elections are being held in nine provinces considered to be strongholds for the Islamic parties. 

Egypt’s military rulers announced Sunday that they would be shortening the election timetable of parliament's consultative upper house, the Shura. The government is speeding up the election process to satiate the demands of protesters pushing for a democratic government.

According to state news agency MENA, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said the Shura’s first meeting will commence Feb. 28, about one month earlier than originally planned.

According to Mazen Hassan, professor of electoral systems at Cairo University, shortening the Shura election from three phases to two will not compromise its honesty or efficiency. 

"This means that each judge will be responsible for overseeing more ballot boxes in the Shoura Council elections than they did in the People's Assembly elections," Hassan told Daily News Egypt.

"But I don't think this will have any grave effect on the honesty of the elections," he added. 

Egypt once again erupted in protests in mid-December, as pro-democracy revolutionaries argued the interim military regime was attempting to maintain power instead of allowing a democratic government to take over.

Protesters worried that continued military control would prove the Arab Spring uprisings were in vain, and the country would never achieve a democratic government.

The final results for parliamentary elections will be announced Jan. 13. Once in office, Parliament members will elect a 100-person panel to draft the country’s new constitution. After the constitution is drafted and signed, the military government is expected relinquish power.