The Muslim Brotherhood won by far the largest share of seats allocated to party
lists in Egyptian parliamentary elections, final results confirmed on
Saturday.RELATED:Opinion: Egyptian elections - the military’s window of opportunity? Islamist set to sweep initial Egypt elections
The results gave the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups
two-thirds of parliamentary seats and a major role in drafting a new
Also on Saturday, the head of the ruling military council
announced he had pardoned 1,959 people convicted by military courts in the year
since president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. The list included Maikel Nabil, a
pro-Israel blogger whose hunger strike had brought him close to
The state Al Nil television channel said the convicts had been
pardoned by Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed
Forces, which has ruled Egypt since February.
The pardon comes four days
before the first anniversary of the 18-day Egyptian uprising that began on
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has
promised that all Egyptians will have a voice in the new parliament, but
Islamists are now set to wield major influence over a constitution to be drafted
by a 100-person group that parliament will help pick.
Under a complex
electoral system, two-thirds, or 332 of the seats in the lower house, are
decided by proportional representation on closed party lists. The other third is
contested by individual candidates.
According to final results of the
staggered election issued by the High Elections Committee on Saturday, the
Brotherhood’s electoral alliance took 38 percent of the seats allocated to
The hard-line Salafist al-Nour Party won 29% of list seats. The
nationalist New Wafd and Egyptian Bloc coalition came in third and fourth,
The Revolution Continues coalition, dominated by youth
groups at the forefront of the protests that toppled Mubarak, attracted less
than a million votes and took just seven of the 498 seats up for grabs in the
The elections committee did not give results for individual
seats, but the FJP’s alliance said on Saturday it now expected to take more than
47% of all seats in the lower house.
Having secured the biggest bloc, the
FJP named Saad al- Katatni, a leading Brotherhood official who sat in the old
parliament as an independent, as the speaker of the assembly.
strong Islamist performance has alarmed liberal Egyptians and Western
governments that had close ties to Mubarak, it is unclear if rival Islamists
will team up in the assembly.
The FJP expressed its “confidence that
Katatni will be at the same distance from all representatives, either those of
the FJP or other parties.”
This would “uphold the principle of democracy
and consolidate the rules of political participation,” the party said in a
Katatni, who sat on the Brotherhood’s policy committee, told
Reuters the new assembly would be “reconciliatory.”
“The priorities are
meeting the demands of the revolution, including the rights of the injured and
those killed in the uprising,” he said.
The ruling military council also
named its choices on Saturday for the 10 parliamentary seats reserved for
Only two women were among the appointees,
something that is likely to further disappoint feminist groups after women won
only a handful of seats in the elections. Mubarak had traditionally used the
quota to boost the representation of women and Coptic Christians.
the appointees belonged to the Coptic community, which makes up 10% of the
Activists said Saturday’s mass pardon of prisoners highlights
the Egyptian army’s heavy-handed approach to dissenters who criticize its top
generals for using tactics reminiscent of Mubarak’s regime.
by a military court for defaming the army, had his prison term reduced to two
years from three in December following criticism from international human rights
groups. The 25-year-old was arrested in March and began a hunger strike to
protest against his conviction for posting remarks saying the army had tried to
quell the uprising against Mubarak.
A Coptic Christian, Nabil is a rare
pro-Israel voice among Egyptian bloggers. Before his arrest, he released several
taped messages directed at Israelis urging them to support the anti- Mubarak
“We can only say the revolution has succeeded when they
release all activists, besides Maikel, who are still being held in military
courts, and retry all civilians who have been prosecuted by courts they
shouldn’t have been prosecuted by,” Nabil’s brother Mark said.
US President Barack Obama stressed Washington’s support for Egypt’s move to
democracy and discussed its International Monetary Fund talks in a telephone
conversation with Tantawi, the White House said.
reinforced the necessity of upholding universal principles and emphasized the
important role that civil society, including nongovernmental organizations, have
in a democratic society,” a White House statement said. “He underscored that
nongovernmental organizations should be able to operate freely.”
authorities swooped in on 17 nongovernmental groups, including the US-funded
National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute, which are
both loosely affiliated with the leading US political parties.
was sharply critical earlier this month of raids by Egyptian authorities on
prodemocracy groups, but laid the blame on remnants of the Mubarak
Obama and Tantawi also discussed Egypt’s economic
Egypt has asked the IMF for $3.2 billion in support and an IMF
delegation is due to visit late this month.
The country turned down an
offer of $3b. in financial assistance from the IMF last June, but since then
Egypt’s funding problems have worsened and its currency has come under heavy
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