Egypt holds a more-transparent vote (Dan Murphy, 11/10/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

In polling stations across Cairo, citizens had relatively unimpeded access to voting booths, and Egyptian political analysts projected that opposition groups, led by the officially banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood, would almost certainly expand their paltry share of 12 percent of seats in the 454 member parliament.

Goma al-Durgadi says the vote has gone so well that it’s making him nervous. The Muslim Brotherhood poll watcher in Cairo’s Dokki district looks around as voters and officials bustle about and journalists and observers come and go with nary a glance at their papers, let alone outright harassment, from security officials.

“The difference is night and day – I can’t believe it,” he says, cracking a grin. “Maybe the NDP has something nasty in store for later.”

Dokki this year, as five years ago, featured a showdown between a senior leader of the Brotherhood and the NDP incumbent Amal Osman, an aging former senior government minister. Defeat for the NDP would be a major embarrassment, but Mr. Durgadi just scratches his head when asked if he has any complaints.

“We’re completely amazed,” he says.

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