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November 30, 2011

Taking the vote: elections in Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Hours after violent clashes between masses of protesters and police, Egyptians swarmed the polls early this week for the beginning rounds of parliamentary elections. They are the first elections since a prodemocracy uprising ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak from office earlier this year. The poll stations have been remarkably peaceful, despite the simmering anger over the military’s extended role in running the government. In contrast, the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential and legislative elections this week were beset by fraud, some observers say. In one town, rebel fighters attacked a polling place, killing at least five people and burning ballots. The voting was Congo's second since the end of the country's last war and the first organized by the government rather than the international community. -- Lloyd Young (30 photos total)

A man waits outside a polling station to cast his vote during parliamentary elections in Cairo Nov. 28. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

An old man casts his vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Cairo Nov. 28. Egyptians lined up to vote in the first big test of a transition born in popular revolutionary euphoria that soured into distrust of the generals who replaced their leader, Hosni Mubarak. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters) #

An Egyptian voter passes between the hands of soldiers guarding at a polling center Nov. 28 in Cairo, Egypt. Voting began on Monday in Egypt's first parliamentary elections since longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising nine months ago. The vote is a milestone many Egyptians hope will usher in a democratic age after decades of dictatorship. (Amr Nabil/Associated Press) #

In a combination image made from six photos, Egyptian women pose with their inked fingers after voting at a polling station in Cairo Nov. 29. Long lines formed at polling stations for a second day of voting and the head of the election commission, Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim, proclaimed turnout so far had been "massive and unexpected." But he did not give figures. (Bela Szandelszky/Associated Press) #

An old man is carried by a volunteer after casting his vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Cairo Nov. 28. (Amr Abdallah/Reuters) #

A woman reads a ballot paper before casting her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Alexandria Nov. 29. (Mohamed Abd El-Ghany/Reuters) #

An Egyptian woman looks at voters as they line up outside a polling station in the Shubra district of Cairo on Nov. 28. Post-revolution Egypt headed to the polls for a chaotic election clouded by violence and a political crisis, the start of a long process to bring democracy to the Arab world's most populous nation. (Mohammed Hossam/AFP/Getty Images) #

Egyptian soldiers stand guard at the entrance of a school turned polling station as voters gather in the Ain Shams district of Cairo on Nov. 28. (Amro Maraghi/AFP/Getty Images) #

Egyptian voters waited at a school turned polling station in old Cairo on Nov. 28. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman carrying her child reads a ballot paper before casting her vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Cairo Nov. 29. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters) #

A man stood in front of banners supporting candidates for the parliamentary elections in Cairo Nov. 28. (Goran Tomasevic /Reuters) #

Egyptian women vote at a polling station in the town of Ibshawai, near Fayoum, 100 km (62 miles) southwest of Cairo Nov. 29. Polls opened Tuesday for a second day of voting in Egypt's landmark parliamentary elections, the first since Hosni Mubarak's ouster in a popular uprising earlier this year. (Tara Todras-Whitehill/Associated Press) #

A Egyptian woman casts her ballot in Maadi, a suburb of Cairo Nov. 28. Voting began on Monday in Egypt's first parliamentary elections since longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising nine months ago. The vote is a milestone many Egyptians hope will usher in a democratic age after decades of dictatorship. (Tara Todras-Whitehill/Associated Press) #

People line up at a polling station as they wait to cast their votes during parliamentary elections in Cairo Nov. 28. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters) #

People gathered outside a polling station to vote in the parliamentary election in Shubra neighborhood of Cairo Nov. 2. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) #

Egyptian soldiers stand guard as voters leave a polling station in Cairo Nov. 29. Polls opened Tuesday for a second day of voting in Egypt's landmark parliamentary elections. (Bela Szandelszky/Associated Press) #

Egyptian women look at a ballot paper at a polling station in the Sahel district of Cairo Nov. 28. Post-revolution Egypt headed to the polls for a chaotic election clouded by violence and a political crisis, the start of a long process to bring democracy to the Arab world's most populous nation. (Mohammed Hossam/AFP/Getty Images) #

Egyptian elections officials burn wax to stamp a ballot box before sending it to a counting center in Cairo Nov. 29. Polls opened Tuesday for a second day of voting in Egypt's landmark parliamentary elections, the first since Hosni Mubarak's ouster in a popular uprising earlier this year. The Arabic on the box reads, "parliamentary elections." (Amr Nabil/Asociated Press) #

A Congolese man walks through ballots Nov. 29 claimed to be fake by opposition supporters and then shredded and burned in a school used as a polling station in the Bandal commune in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, one day after the country went to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections. The vote is only the second since the end of Congo's last war, and the first to be organized by the government instead of the international community. The election was supposed to mark another step toward peace, but if the results are not accepted by the population, especially the country's fractured opposition, analysts fear it could drag Congo back into conflict. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press) #

An election witness is refused access to a voting center at the Twalemishe school in Kamalondo district of Lubumbashi on Nov. 29. Monitors reported widespread fraud in Democratic Republic of Congo elections and presidential rivals demanded an annulment as votes were counted Tuesday in polling marred by deadly violence. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

Congolese women, one using a light, go through the ballot for parliamentary elections at a polling station in the Masina district of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo Nov. 28. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press) #

Ballot papers burned in an attack on two pick-up trucks lie on the roadside in Lubumbashi on Nov. 28. A convoy of 8 vehicles were carrying papers at 3am this morning when they were attacked by a group of armed men in the capital of the mineral rich province of Katanga. (Phil Moore /AFP/Getty Images) #

Members of Congo's presidential guard walk through heavy rain ahead of incumbent Joseph Kabila (not seen) as he leaves a polling station after voting in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, Nov. 28. Voting began slowly on Monday in Congo's second-post war election, held despite fears logistical problems and irregularities would undermine the result. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #

Supporters of opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi parade what they claim are badly printed fraudulent photocopies of election ballots they say they found in the Bandal commune in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo Nov. 28. Polls opened in Congo's capital as the government of this nation pummeled by war vowed to go ahead with its much-anticipated presidential and parliamentary election despite massive logistical challenges. As day broke on Monday, a trickle gathered outside polling stations as residents waited to take part in a presidential and legislative election that could further consolidate the country's peace, or else drag it back into conflict. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press) #

Young Congolese men check their names against the list of registered voters at the Jean Calvin College voting centre in Lubumbashi Nov. 27, the eve of DR Congo's elections. The National Electoral Commission has registered over 32 million people to vote, choosing between over 18,000 parliamentary candidates nation-wide. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

A voting official sits in the Njanja polling station in Lubumbashi Nov. 29. Monitors reported widespread fraud in Democratic Republic of Congo elections and presidential rivals demanded an annulment as votes were counted in polling marred by deadly violence. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

Piles of ballot papers sit during vote counting at the Twalemishe school polling station in Kamalondo district of Lubumbashi on Nov. 29. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man navigates a maze of tape as he checks his name against voter registration lists at the EP 1 Imara Voting Station in Lubumbashi Nov. 27. This is one of the largest voting centers in the Democratic Republic of Congo's second largest city, and officials here expect large queues tomorrow morning as voting opens on what will be the country's second democratic elections in four decades. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

A voter shouts at an election official at the Njanja polling station in Lubumbashi Nov. 29. The polling station was attacked by seven armed gunmen yesterday, who burned all of the ballot papers, including those already cast. Monitors reported widespread fraud in Democratic Republic of Congo elections and presidential rivals demanded an annulment as votes were counted in polling marred by deadly violence. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

A pile of presidential and legislative ballot papers sit unattended on the ground of a compound outside a polling station in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa Nov. 29. First results emerged from the Democratic Republic of Congo's chaotic elections on Tuesday but some voters were still casting their ballots in a vote tainted by confusion, violence and allegations of fraud. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #


 
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