Monday 28th November 2011 saw the first stage of parliamentary elections in Egypt, a historic day to mark the beginning of an election process that will continue on until March 2012. Across the 27 governorates within Egypt, people flocked to the polling stations to cast their vote to appoint lower house members to 5 year terms, choosing from approximately 6700 candidates. Despite the recent unrest and violent uprisings, reports from Egypt suggest that the day has gone well with an unexpected number of people participating in the vote.
In response to the day’s events, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said “We are pleased that the day has gone relatively smoothly without significant disruption. We have been praying for a peaceful start to this democratic process, and are hopeful that all the remaining stages of the electoral process will continue unhindered, in an equally peaceful manner. The people of Egypt deserve a new start in a nation that observes the equality and rights of all.”
The First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs William Hague, said the following in an official statement regarding the elections,
"I congratulate the people of Egypt as they go to the polls. I urge the Egyptian authorities to ensure that these elections are free from violence, fair and credible. What happens in Egypt will be crucial for the whole region and the world will be watching closely in the days and months ahead.”
Whilst most of the day has indeed passed free of violence and disruption, complaints and allegations have been made by several eye witnesses suggesting that various party members were distributing flyers and food in an attempt to sway votes, and many were unhappy with the late opening of certain polling stations. As the world looks to Egypt and awaits the results of the elections, the Church continues to offer up prayers for peace in Egypt during this time and the months to come.