Latest Egypt vote brings Islamists closer to win

Muslim Brotherhood FJP takes majority votes in final round, hardline Salafi Al Nour in second, partial results show.

By REUTERS
January 6, 2012 14:43
2 minute read.
Egyptian woman shows stained finger after voting

An Egyptian woman shows her stained finger after voting 311R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

 
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CAIRO - The Muslim Brotherhood 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, which show the Islamists are set to dominate the legislature.

Banned under deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood has emerged a major winner from the uprising that toppled him, exploiting a well-organized support base to beat the rest in the first free legislative vote in decades.

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The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party list won 37.5 percent 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 the 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.

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.

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For now, the military generals who assumed Mubarak's powers last February will stay in power. They are 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.

More voting to come

Official results of the voting held this week are due on Saturday, but it will take longer before the exact shape of the 498-seat lower house is known.

There are run-offs for seats being contested by individuals in the latest round which will be held on Jan. 10 and 11. And voting must also be held again in a district where the election was cancelled due to irregularities in the first round.

According to a complex electoral system, a third of the seats are reserved for individuals. The other two thirds will be distributed among the lists on a proportional representation basis.

As well as contesting the lists, both the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Nour Party have fielded candidates for the individual seats. Polls for the upper house of parliament will follow later this month and conclude in February.

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