On Sunday, November 28, Egypt held a vote for the lower house of parliament, a political event that set the stage for next year's presidential race. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP), dominated the elections and its members largely controlled access to the polling sites, making it difficult for Egypt's largest opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, to cast ballots for its candidates.
Although polling stations were separated by gender, women turned out in large numbers. Many cast their votes for Dr. Manal Abul Hassan, one of the only women contesting a non-quota seat against a male candidate from the NDP. Abul Hassan, a university professor, vowed to uphold sharia law in the Egyptian parliament, but she also promised equality for "every Egyptian citizen, whether a man or a woman, a Muslim or a Copt."