The council heralded the election as a great success and, to make certain no one missed its reclaiming of the revolutionary mantle, state TV referred to the vote as the election for the parliament of the revolution.
At a news conference in Cairo, the election commissions chief triumphantly rattled off the complex logistics behind the vote: some 9,000 polling places, 10,000 election judges, more than 50 political parties and so on. Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the appellate judge who heads the commission, said hed recorded only minor violations and a handful of security problems, mostly fistfights.
Ibrahim beamed before the TV cameras and declared: Today, we begin a renaissance.
Despite the governments self-congratulatory posturing, voters said they still supported the fundamental demand of the Tahrir protesters: civilian rule. They may be weary of demonstrations, they said, but that doesnt mean they wont keep fighting through parliament for greater civilian control over the councils runaway powers.
Were now forming a parliament that should keep in mind that theyre here to serve the country, not themselves, and if they dont, we will bring them down the same way we voted them in, said Laila Hedaia, 63, a housewife. Tahrir Square is always there.
The Muslim Brotherhood was the councils primary backer in keeping elections on schedule, to the ire of liberal parties who wouldve needed the Islamists backing to force out the entrenched generals. But nothing couldve kept the group from its moment, and much of the voting Monday looked like a Brotherhood coming-out party, as Shadi Hamid, an expert on the group whos currently in Cairo, wrote on his Twitter account.
The Brotherhoods Freedom and Justice Party passed out baseball caps and rain ponchos — all emblazoned with the partys scales-of-justice logo — to voters standing outside in inclement weather in Cairo and Alexandria. At hundreds of polling places, the party had set up information booths festooned with campaign posters. They helped voters find polling places and gave them tutorials on filling out ballots.
In Maadi, an upscale district with a large enclave of Westerners, some voters complained that the information booth was brazen campaigning. They lobbied a judge to shut it down, but the party had erected it exactly at the 100-meter threshold — about 110 yards — that electoral law allowed.
Theyre always confusing us. We never know what theyre up to, Sohair Nicola, 58, who works in tourism management, said in reference to the Brotherhood. They say they wont be in the square, and then they run to Tahrir just to grab a piece of the cake.
Freedom and Justice Party members said the booths were just community service, not campaigning — though the information slips that voters received were stamped with the party logo.
While voters marveled at the groups discipline and efficiency, there also were concerns about the Brotherhoods motivations. A few voters described inching away from the Brotherhood after its recent waffling over the renewed uprising.
On Monday, the White House issued high praise for the elections, and even made rare positive remarks alluding to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the State Department considers a militant group. Theres a push in Congress to repeal the annual $1.3 billion aid package to Egypt should the Islamists take power.