- By all accounts women turned out in very large numbers, even in traditionally conservative areas like Asyut in Upper Egypt, but nationwide. Asyut is a stronghold of radical Islamists, but also has a large Coptic population. Does a large turnout of women work against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis? Maybe.
- Copts are also said to have turned out in large numbers. That could also be a reaction to the Brotherhood, though turnout was high across the board.
- Parties are already complaining and crying foul about alleged violations, and I'm sure there were irregularities, but no one is claiming the large-scale, systematic ballot-box stuffing that used to go on. At least not yet.
- Turnout was huge with long lines on day one; on day two some precincts were nearly empty; everyone voted on the first day, even if it meant standing in line for hours. Some are speculating that they were afraid there wouldn't actually be a second day. Old suspicions die hard.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The two-day Egyptian first round of the first phase of elections has ended.Until the votes are counted it will be hard to draw any conclusions, except the obvious one that things were (largely) peaceful. Given the large number of parties and candidates, many races will no doubt go to runoff as well. And only a third of the governorates have even voted, so we're a long way from knowing who's leading. A few observations, however: