Saturday, December 3, 2011

What the Egyptian People Wanted.

Egypt election results show Islamists the winners

Islamist parties appear to have been the winners in Egypt's first free elections for decades.

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Supporters of Egyptian candidate for the parliamentary elections Mustafa Bakri, center, surround his car as they celebrate after he was able to win a seat in the first round in South Cairo's Helwan district, Egypt Photo: AP

By Telegraph reporter and agency in Cairo
10:48AM GMT 03 Dec 2011
Leaked results showed that religious parties, including hardliners, have won a clear majority of the parliamentary seats contested. Their success comes at the expense of the liberal activist groups that led the uprising against the former president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

The election commission said on Friday that 62 percent of eligible voters cast ballots for nearly a third of the seats in Egypt's parliament, in the highest turnout in modern history.

Only a trickle of results had been announced by Friday. Voting in the complex election will not be completed until the end of January.

But Egypt's Islamists appear increasingly confident that they are coming out on top, with some even outlining plans for a strict brand of religious law which could limit personal freedoms and put the nation on the road to becoming an Islamic state.

The Muslim Brotherhood, regarded as pragmatists, appeared poised to take the largest share of votes, as much as 45 percent. The surprise winner in the election appeared to be the much more hardline Nour Party. Leaks showed it could win as much as a quarter of the house, putting it in a powerful position to influence the agenda for debate.

The party espouses a strict interpretation of Islam in which democracy is subordinate to the Koran.

The party represents Egypt's Salafists and members speak openly about their aim of turning Egypt into a state where personal freedoms, including freedom of speech, women's dress and art, are constrained by Islamic law.

Thousands of protesters at the massive street demonstrations in January and February were calling for such freedoms.

The Nour Party only reluctantly included women as candidates, to comply with election regulations. It put women at the bottom of its lists, represented by flowers since women's photos were deemed inappropriate. It has only recently entered politics.

By contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best organized political group, was officially banned under Mubarak but established a nationwide network of activists who built a reputation for offering services to the poor. After Mubarak's fall, the group's Freedom and Justice Party campaigned successfully, their organisation and name-recognition giving them a big advantage over newly-formed liberal parties.

Stakes are particularly high since the new parliament is supposed to oversee writing a new constitution.

On Friday the election commisosion said that more than 8 million eligible voters - 62 percent - participated in the first round. But it announced final results in only a few races. It remains unclear when complete final results will be released.

This week's vote, held in nine provinces, will determine about 30 percent of the 498 seats in the People's Assembly, parliament's lower house. Two more rounds, ending in January, will cover Egypt's other 18 provinces.


Egypt's elections 'turn into farce' 02 Dec 2011
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Egypt delays election results again 01 Dec 2011

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