Islamists win big in Egypt elections
By Rizwan Khatik - Sat Jan 07, 12:12 pm
Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood has won more than a third of the votes in the last stage of elections for Egypt’s lower house of parliament, according to partial results on Friday, showing the Islamists are set to dominate the legislature.
Banned under deposed president Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood has emerged as a major winner from the uprising that toppled him, exploiting a well-organised support base in the first free legislative vote in decades.
The Brotherhood’s party list won 37.5 per cent of the vote in the third and final stage of voting.
Repeating a pattern seen in previous rounds, the hardline Islamist Nour Party list came second in most of the districts after this week’s vote, results on its party website showed.
The Islamists now look set to wield major influence over the shape of a new constitution to be drafted by a 100-strong body that the new legislature will pick, though the Brotherhood has promised that Egyptians of all persuasions will have a say.
“We are happy with the results and are also happy that there are 15 or 16 parties in the parliament so far,” said Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
“This means all voices will be heard in the parliament,” he said, speaking at a party rally which drew hundreds of supporters to a working class district of Cairo.
A banner at the rally, held in a tent decked out with Egyptian and party flags, declared: “Together we make the future of Egypt.”
Though the success of the Brotherhood and Nour Party has alarmed some Egyptians and the Western governments which backed Mubarak, it is unclear to what extent the rival Islamists will cooperate or compete in the new legislature.
The Nour Party seeks a strict application of Islamic law and some analysts believe the more moderate Brotherhood may seek an alliance with liberal groups to allay concerns about the prospect of an Islamist-led Egypt.
For now, the military generals who assumed Mubarak’s powers last February will stay in power.
The military is set to rule until the end of June, by which time they say the country will have a new elected president to whom they will hand power.