Egyptians continued voting in parliamentary elections for a second day Tuesday, marking a historic change for a nation that was under authoritarian rule less than a year ago. The elections to fill the People's Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, are the first held since the ousting of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, who resigned from power following massive uprisings earlier this year. The first days of voting have seen an unexpectedly high level of participation (authorities estimate participation to be above 70%) amongst a population optimistic that their votes will finally matter after decades of totalitarian governance. The elections have also been surprisingly peaceful and free of obstructions that many feared would put a damper on the watershed moment for the budding democracy.
The election of a new Parliament is a months-long process, done in regional stages that will not be completed until March. This vote will set the stage for the creation of a new constitution next spring as well as a presidential election to be held next summer. The success of the voting thus far gives hope that the resulting government at the end of this process will be truly democratic and representative of the Egyptian people.
The lack of violence is also a relief to those concerned following recent unrest in the last week, as civilians again took to the streets to protest the severity of the military-controlled transitional government. While there are doubts as to how much power the ruling generals will actually hand over to the new Parliament, huge numbers of Egyptians came out to prove their commitment to their Revolution and the ideals of democracy. It is also a positive sign for the region as a whole, as countries throughout the Middle East work to build new democratic institutions following the uprisings of the Arab Spring.
While the final results of the elections are months away, the vote is an encouraging sign for the thousands of Egyptian protestors who have bravely stood up for their freedoms and rights. GlobalSolutions.org strongly supports the establishment of democratic institutions and calls for a peaceful transition to a new government in Egypt.