Final results for the first parliamentary elections in Egypt after Hosni Mubarak was deposed have been tabulated. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has won the largest number of seats for the lower house of Parliament, 47 percent, and the hardline Islamist Al-Nour party 29 percent. The liberal New Wafd party won about 7 percent of the seats, placing third, and the secular Egyptian Bloc coalition came in fourth. The Revolution Continues coalition, which is mainly comprised of youth groups who led the pro-democratic protests, received only 7 seats.
Women will be scarcely represented. Women have won only about 8 seats, fewer than 2 percent of Egypt’s Parliament. Dalia Abdel Hamid, the gender officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, described the results as “disastrous.” An activist who ran for Parliament, Dalia Ziada, recalls protesting in Tahrir Square with Egyptians of different beliefs, backgrounds and genders and now feels “betrayal from our companions.”
Islamists Prevail in Elections
Egyptians had voted in in three phases over six weeks to elect 498 members of the People’s Assembly. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the military government that has been governing Egypt since Mubarak’s fall, will be appointing ten seats. Voter turnout was 54 percent in the polls, says the election commission.
Saad al-Katatni, a leading Muslim Brotherhood official who had previously sat in Egypt’s parliament as an independent, has been selected as speaker.
The elections results make it clear that Islamist will “wield major influence over a new constitution,” which parliament is now charged to draft. However, it will ultimately be the president who chooses the government, says the BBC’s Jon Leyne ,”so the winners of this election do not automatically take office.” A new president will be elected in June under a timetable set by the SCAF.
Electoral Quotas For Women in Arab Countries
A number of Arab countries including Tunisia and Iraq have electoral quotas to improve the likelihood of women being elected into Parliament. Such quotas were introduced in Egypt in 1979 but have been viewed with suspicion; as NPR notes, under Mubarak, quotas were seen as a way to “stack the Parliament unfairly.”
Photo taken in February of 2011 in Tahrir Square by Al Jazeera English
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