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Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 00:29 GMT 01:29 UK
Victory for Egypt's ruling party
Egyptian riot police
In Ashmoun, police fired tear gas and live ammunition at demonstrators
Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has won an overwhelming victory in the first round of parliamentary elections.

Earlier on Wednesday it had appeared that the NDP might suffer a stunning defeat, but more than 50 of nominally independent candidates joined President Hosni Mubarak's party soon after winning their seats.

Map showing key towns
The mass defection to the ruling party gave the NDP 118 of the 150 seats that were contested in the first of the three electoral rounds for the 454-seat parliament.

However, six members of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, who were standing as independents, won seats. Several key figures in the ruling NDP party also lost their seats.

The second and third rounds are scheduled for 29 October and 8 November.


Voting on Tuesday was marred by clashes between security forces and opposition supporters that left one person dead and dozens injured.

The Egyptian Human Rights Organisation said there had been irregularities in the voting, including "insufficient legal supervision".

Correspondents say supporters of opposition candidates have been arrested or prevented from voting and voter lists have not been fully purged of the dead.

In Ashmoun, about 40km northwest of Cairo, opposition supporters gathered outside the NDP's headquarters on Tuesday and pelted police trucks with stones.

Angry Egyptian voters
Opposition candidates have been arrested
Police fired tear gas and live ammunition. They also beat demonstrators with batons.

Voting in one constituency in Alexandria was indefinitely postponed on Tuesday after a court agreed to consider a Muslim Brotherhood candidate's complaint that police arrested several of her campaign workers.

This is the first time in more than a decade that the Muslim Brotherhood, considered the largest political faction in the country, has had a presence in parliament.

BBC Cairo correspondent Caroline Hawley says there will be some new faces in parliament, but the NDP, though badly tainted by corruption allegations against some of its members, is not expected to lose its stranglehold over Egyptian politics.

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See also:

19 Oct 00 | Middle East
Egyptian voting 'peaceful'
19 Jul 00 | Middle East
Egyptian opposition leaders charged
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24 Jul 00 | Middle East
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Brotherhood trial resumes in Egypt
17 Oct 99 | Middle East
Egypt detains Brotherhood leaders
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