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Moderate Islamists Set To Be Dominant Force In Egypt

Cairo, Dec 1: Moderate Islamists linked to Muslim Brotherhood are expected to emerge as the dominant political force in Egypt in the first phase of historic parliamentary polls in the post-Mubarak era, in which radicals
moderate islamists set to be dominant force in...
PTI December 01, 2011 22:38 IST

Cairo, Dec 1: Moderate Islamists linked to Muslim Brotherhood are expected to emerge as the dominant political force in Egypt in the first phase of historic parliamentary polls in the post-Mubarak era, in which radicals gave a tough fight to it in several regions, local media reported. 

After its counterparts emerged victorious in the aftermath of the ‘Arab Spring' in Tunisia and Morocco, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt ‘The Freedom and Justice Party' (FJP), have claimed that it had won about 40 per cent of the votes, according to its own exit polls. 

Secular liberals and hardline Islamists who follow the strict Salafi brand of Islam are battling for the second place , with reports saying the latter might prevail. 

Muslim Brotherhood was persecuted and banned during the 30-year rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February following a popular uprising.

Official results have not yet been released, but unofficial election tallies offered by Egypt's political parties suggest a strong showing for Islamist parties, particularly the FJP.

Surprisingly, several hardline Islamist candidates belonging to Al-Nur, which is the main party of radical Salafists are also set to win the polls in the opening phase , according to al-Ahram.

The party could win up to 20 per cent of the vote in the parliamentary elections held on Monday and Tuesday in the capital Cairo, port city Alexandria and other areas.

“The Salafists are the surprise force by beating the Muslim Brotherhood in several districts,” al-Ahram newspaper, said, pointing to contests in the conservative bastion of Alexandria.

Al-Nur party was part of a democratic coalition led by the Brotherhood but they left to form their own Islamic Alliance. Al-Nur is in favour of strict interpretation of Islamic law in economic and social life.

On Monday and Tuesday, millions of Egyptians embraced their new democratic freedoms in the first phase of multi-stage parliamentary elections, results of which are expected soon.

Results for the party list seats, which make up two-thirds of the People's Assembly, will not be available until January. Unofficial numbers have begun to leak out, though, mostly from sources within the parties. 

The best results came in Fayoum governorate, south of Cairo; the source also said the FJP polled well in Cairo, Assiut and Red Sea governorates.

The party's toughest competition was in Alexandria and Kafr al-Sheikh governorates, where al-Nour, a Salafi party, reportedly performed well, al-Jazeera said. 

The FJP is nominally a part of the Democratic Alliance, but the bloc's other members are mostly small and unknown; FJP candidates comprise 70 per cent of the alliance's candidates in party list districts, and 90 per cent in individual districts.

Basil Adel, a member of the Egyptian Bloc, also predicted a strong showing for Islamists: He told Reuters that the Democratic Alliance had won between 40 and 50 per cent of the vote, and predicted a 5-to-7-per cent showing for the Nour party.

During the past two weeks, at least 42 people have been killed in clashes, as protesters called for an immediate end to military rule. An additional 3,250 have been wounded, according to the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, Adel said his own bloc, the main liberal alliance in Egypt, secured between 20 and 30 per cent of votes counted so far in Cairo.

 

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