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Islamists Ahead in Polls in Egyptian Elections

Islamists Ahead in Polls in Egyptian Elections

Unofficial tallies by political parties in Egypt suggest that Islamist parties are poised to win a clear majority in the country’s first Parliament since Hosni Mubarak was deposed. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, seems likely to take about 40 percent of the vote. While this result was predicted, a strong showing — as much as 25 percent of the vote — for the Salafis, ultraconservative Islamists, was not expected. The two groups of Islamists are likely to control as much as 65 percent of the seats in the Parliament.

The first round of Egypt’s elections for the lower house of Parliament began on Monday; elections will continue on December 14 and January 3. While official results are not due till January, officials have said they will release results for seats contested by individual candidates on Thursday at 7:00 pm GMT. Voting this week took place in only one-third of Egypt’s provinces and in more liberal areas including Cairo, Port Said and the Red Sea coast; it will continue in the upcoming months in more rural, and more conservative areas, where the Islamists are likely to gain more votes.

Basil Adel said that his Democratic Alliance, the main liberal organizations in Egypt, has received between 20 to 30 percent of the votes so far counted in Cairo.

Rise of Islamists After Arab Spring

Islamists have formed governments after elections in Tunisia and Morocco and are likely to play a major role in governing post-Gaddafi Libya.  The result in Egypt, the largest Arab state and a US ally that is “considered a linchpin of regional stability,” suggests the rising influence of Islamists, long oppressed by authoritarian leaders with ties to the West. Egypt’s new Parliament will play a large role in drafting a new constitution, but it is not yet clear how much input the ruling military government will allow from the newly elected body:

The unexpected rise of a strong ultraconservative Islamist faction to the right of the Brotherhood is likely to shift Egypt’s cultural and political center of gravity to the right as well. Leaders of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party will likely feel obliged to compete with the ultraconservatives for Islamist voters, and at the same time will not feel the same need to compromise with liberals to form a government.

“It means that, if the Brotherhood chooses, Parliament can be an Islamists affair — a debate between liberal Islamists, moderate Islamists and conservatives Islamists, and that is it,” Michael Wahid Hanna, an Egyptian-born researcher at the Century Foundation in Cairo, said this week.

The ultraconservative Salafi parties, meanwhile, will be able to use their electoral clout to make their own demands for influence on appointments in the new government. Mr. Hanna added: “I don’t mind saying this is not a great thing. It is not a joyous day on my end.”

The Salafis have spoken of laws that would require a shift to Islamic banking, specific curricula for boys and girls, censorship of the arts and entertainment and restrictions on alcohol.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP is seeking to to settle fears that it will form a coalition with the Salafist al-Nour party.

Death Toll in Pre-election Protests Rises to 43

A protester, 39-year-old Ahmed Badawy, has died after being wounded by a shotgun pellet in the stomach and a rubber bullet in the leg in clashes with police on Cairo’s Mohamed Mahmoud Street last week. 43 have now died in the protests that preceded Monday’s elections. The US embassy in Cairo has also said that it could block future exports of US-made teargas to Egypt after it was revealed that, in the wake of the days of street battles in Cairo, the Egyptian ministry of interior had ordered 21 tons of teargas from the US. During the protests, numerous tear canisters were thrown into civilians, leading to many serious injuries.

Previous Care2 Coverage

Egypt Votes

A Divided Egypt on Eve of Elections

Migrants in Egypt Targeted For Body Parts

 

 

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Photo of Day 2 of elections in Egypt by lilianwagdy

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17 comments

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12:27PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Of ocurse, many of these countries were too focused in encouraging democracy as to actually stop and think if there were any democratic alternatives to Mubarak ready or if this might be the chance the MB has been waiting for.

12:19PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Sorry if this comes out duplicated, for some reason my post has not loaded after 15 minutes.

Siusaidh C. has a very good point.

Many of us (those who have lived in Egypt and knowthe country and its people) have been outraged ever since this revolution started, not because of the revolution itself but for the stupid, irresponsible encouragement to rush the process that the foreign countries have done.
Although they were supposedly forbidded, you could buy books, attend meetings and discuss the Muslim Bortherhood under Muabarak (I thinkCommunists have a harder time doing any of these in the USA even if that's not a dictatrship). The Msulim Brotherhood have been organized and waiting for their chance while the more moderates have nothing. Encouraged by the foreign countries and the perspective of a rather unrealistic democracy, there are so many candidates amongst the moderates that they compete aginst each other and this only favors the more fanatical (who will always vote their people and who will obey the call to the urns while some of the moderates did not even go to vote as they were "protesting" against the latest events).
This was predictable, and that is why the foreign countries should take responsabilioty for this. The funny thing is, EGypt is one of the most westrenized Arab countries an dthat may be lost simply because the West decided to rush the matter instead of realizing these changes need time in order to work out.
Of ocurse, many of these countries wer

11:52AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Siusaidh C. has a very good point.

I am sorry if I repeat myself, but having lived and worked in Egypta nd still having people there I am totally outraged: This was predictable and that's why foreign countries should have acted responsible instead of encouraging a rushed revolution (and that inlcudes Obama, who had been flattering Mubark -to put it nicely- only a year before he adviced he got out): The ONLY organized group ready to take power were the Islamists, because even when they were "forbidden" you could get their books in any library, attend their meetings etc (something Communists have more problem doing in the USA even when that's not a dictatorship!).

The rushing of the process, the empty & unrealistic promises, advice and ecourgament from foreign countries pushed to this. Those who would not vote for Islamists are overwhelmed by thousands of candidates that only dilude the chances of the few could have actuallyu made it. Instead of joining forces, everyone's so worried in making "history" and crying democracy (the Kefaya party to name one) or objecting to the latest event by NOT GOING TO VOTE that they left the door wide open for those who have been organized for years and waiting for a chance, and who have followers with straightforward goals (fanatics tend to focus on their people an will not vote others, unlike moderates who might consider several alternatives) and who will answer the call to the urns that their leaders do.

Egypt was one of the m

4:44PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

The Muslim Brothers have been organized for many years, plus they enjoy funding from US-ally Saudi Arabia. Those who disagree with them have to organize themselves and try to cut off funding from all outside sources.

12:33PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Dictators in the Middle East were the only force keeping Sharia law from being imposed, because under Sharia law IT runs the country.. A previous poll revealed that 805 of Egyptians favored Sharia law. Now that they are to have the vote for a democratic choice, they will be able to freely choose Islamic slavery.

11:20AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

In Egypt they've only just started with democracy, what can you expect?
They'll soon see as in other democracies that voting religion is counterproductive and self-destructive.
chala frasek!

10:14AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

No suprise. Be careful what you wish for.

9:58AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

I agree with Helena P Now I'll add my 2 cents How benign are the christian Reich theo-fascist christian dominionists who say they this country was founded to be christians only and that only christians deserve any religious freedom .Sounds a lot like theocracy to me Do I like that the islamists are ahead in Egypt no.But the fact that the multi national corporations banks and the radical christian rapture right control the GOP is worse because it our country they are wrecking..

8:52AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

"Islamists Ahead in Polls in Egyptian Elections"....

"The unexpected rise of a strong ultraconservative Islamist faction to the right of the Brotherhood"....

Surprise, surprise!

And you thought the Egyptian riots were about DEMOCRACY!

Never mind, the USA can probably nuke Egypt if it turns out to be another Iran, right?

6:48AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Frankly, any government dominated by one or more religious groups is dangerous. However, as a Christian, I am concerned by our own hypocrisy here in America (Canada and United States). We decry the fact that people in Muslim majority countries may elect a government based in the Muslim religion, while calling for government and laws based on Christian or Biblical principles here at home.

The only true democratic government is government based on commonly accepted secular principles, that allows freedom of religion while denying special rights and privileges to any religious groups, and that defends human rights, even when they may not be popular with the majority.

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