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Islamists Dominate Egypt's New Parliament

Published: 22/01/2012 01:32:19 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Islamists have swept Egypt's first democratic election, taking two-thirds of seats in the country's new parliament.

CAIRO - Islamists have swept Egypt's first democratic election, taking two-thirds of seats in the country's new parliament.

"The train of democracy has entered the station and elected the first People's Assembly since the January 25 revolution," Abdel-Moez Ibrahim, head of the electoral committee, told a new conference Saturday, January 21, cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Final results showed that the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 235 seats, or 47.18 percent, in the new parliament.

The FJP secured 127 seats on party lists and its candidates won another 108 in first-past-the-post constituency votes.

The Salafist Al-Nour party trailed second with 121 seats, or 24.29 percent.

The liberal Wafd Party and Egyptian Bloc, which includes the Free Egyptians party of telecoms magnate Naguib Sawiris who is facing trial on allegations of insulting Islam, came third and fourth with nine and seven percent respectively.

The Revolution Continues coalition, dominated by youth groups at the forefront of the protests that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, attracted less than a million votes and took just seven of the 498 seats up for grabs in the lower house.

Under Egypt's complex electoral system, two thirds or 332 of the seats in lower house are decided by proportional representation on closed party lists. The other third are contested by individual candidates.

The People's Assembly (lower house of parliament) is made up of 498 elected MPs and 10 appointed by the ruling military which took over after Mubarak quit last February 11.

The new parliament will hold its first session on Monday.

Reconciliatory

Saad al-Katatni, an FJP candidate to become the parliament speaker, said the new assembly would be "reconciliatory".

"The priorities are meeting the demands of the revolution, including the rights of the injured and those killed in the uprising," he told Reuters.

The Brotherhood's party has promised all Egyptians will have a voice in the new parliament.

The FJP expressed its "confidence that Katatni will be at the same distance from all representatives, either those of the FJP or other parties."

This would "uphold the principle of democracy and consolidate the rules of political participation," the party said in a statement.

The rise of the Islamists in Egypt's first election since Mubarak's overthrow marks a monumental shift from the past when parliament was a compliant body stuffed with members of his National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood was officially banned but tolerated.

The arrival of a new generation of politicians with a genuine popular mandate suggests parliament will seek to temper the power of the ruling military council, which has pledged to step aside at the end of June.

The ruling military council, which took over Mubarak's duties also named its choices on Saturday for the 10 parliamentary seats reserved for presidential appointees.

Only one woman was among the appointees which is likely to further disappoint feminist groups after women won only a handful of seats in the elections.

Mubarak had traditionally used the quota to boost the representation of women and Coptic Christians.

Five of the appointees belonged to the Coptic community, which comprises some 10 percent of the population.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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