CAIRO - Consolidating their gains in the country's first free elections, Egypt's Islamists have won two-thirds of seats in the first parliament since the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak.
"We are happy with the results and are also happy that there are 15 or 16 parties in the parliament so far," Essam al-Erian, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told Reuters.
"This means all voices will be heard in the parliament," he added at a party rally in Cairo.
The Brotherhood's party said on its website that it has won 41 percent of seats in the new parliament.
The Salafi Al-Nour party trailed second, winning nearly 27 percent of seats.
The two Islamist parties together chalked up nearly 65 percent of seats in the new parliament.
The liberal Egyptian Bloc and Al-Wafd party won 9 percent of seats each, while Mubarak loyalists took nearly 4 percent, according to results published on the FJP's website.
The Revolution Continues, a coalition of youth activists, took only 2 percent of seats and the moderate Islamist Al Wasat won 2 percent, while the rest were taken by independents.
The final results of the elections will not be announced until after the runoffs for seats for individual candidates, which will be held on January 10 and 11.
That leaves about 11 percent of seats in the 498-seat lower house as yet undecided.
Under Egypt's complex electoral system, one-third of the parliament seats are reserved for individuals.
The other two thirds are distributed among party lists on a proportional representation basis.
Polls for the upper house of parliament will follow later this month on January 29 and conclude in February.
Speculations are running high whether Islamists will ally together in the new parliament.
I'm trying to grab the Muslim Brotherhood into a coalition with liberal members and not have them be forced into an alliance with the Salafis, Shadi Taha, who ran and lost in the election as a member of the liberal Ghad Party, told the Washington Post.
The Brotherhood's party has so far said that it has no plans to ally with Salafis in the new parliament.
If liberals turn their back on them, the Salafis will be the Muslim Brotherhood's plan B, said Taha.
Parties are not expected to start their negotiations until the final results are announced.
When the complete picture of the parliament is clear, discussions will start with other players and everything will depend on their willingness to join, said Amr Darrag, secretary general of the Giza branch of the Brotherhood's party.
I don't think we will have clear collaboration between us and the Nour Party as a coalition. I think that they'll be in the opposition.Once the new parliament is sworn in, a commission will be appointed to draft a new constitution before presidential elections are held by the end of June.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net