Mubarak Trial Resumes as Egyptians Vote January 2, 2012
Under the shadow of the resumption of trial for former President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians voted in the tens of thousands in the third and final round of parliamentary elections.
Mubarak's trial resumed in December, after a three-month gap brought on in part by Mubarak's declining health. The former leader was again wheeled into court on a stretcher. His defense has yet to begin. First up has been the prosecution, which has mainly consisted of witnesses, among them Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who have largely confirmed Mubarak's defense: that he didn't order soldiers to shoot unarmed protesters.
Meanwhile, polling places in one-third of the country's 27 divisions were busy, as voters cast their ballots for both individuals and political parties. As with the first two rounds, observers expect largely Islamist parties, the Muslim Brotherhood prominent among them, to gain much support, perhaps even a majority of the 498 seats in Parliament.
One thing the new body will get around to straight away is the selection of a 100-member group that will be tasked with writing the country's new constitution. The ruling military council suspended the old constitution several months ago. The generals also announced that the presidential election would take place in February, several months earlier than planned, to meet a key demand of the protesters who are still in the streets of Cairo's Tahrir Square.