CAIRO, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Egyptians started to cast their ballots on Monday with a high turnout to elect the People's Assembly in the first stage of the polls.
Some 50 parties and 6,591 independents will contest the 498 seats of the major legislature. The following are the major blocs and parties contesting the elections.
The Democratic Alliance has the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as its most powerful member. The alliance was formed in July and the number of its members once reached 34 at most. But many parties left the alliance because of FJP's domination of candidates. Now it consists of the FJP, Ghad Party, Karama Party and some other minor parties.
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB), officially banned in 1954, underwent ideological transformation as Egypt returned to multi- party elections under the eras of Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. After the 2011 unrest, the law on political parties was modified in Egypt. The MB founded the FJP and aimed to gain the most seats in parliamentary elections. After the disbanding of the National Democratic Party, the MB has become the best organized and most influential organization in the country.
The Egypt Bloc formed in August is the main liberal alliance consisting of the Free Egyptians Party, the Social Democratic Party and al-Tagammu. The bloc was established to confront the Democratic Alliance but also divided over the naming of candidates. The Free Egyptians Party was founded in April with 100,000 registered members.
The Islamist Alliance is made up of the Salafi al-Nour Party, the Salafi al-Asala Party and the Building and Development Party. It is another Islamic alliance.
The "Completing the Revolution" Alliance is composed of the Egypt Freedom Party, the Sufi Egyptian Liberation Party, the Revolution Youth Coalition and the Youth Movement for Justice and Freedom and some other groups.
Al-Wafd Party is one of the oldest, established political parties in Egypt. The party is also technically the New Wafd but always referred to simply as the Wafd. It has an estimated 500,000 members.