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Islamists Extend Lead in Egypt’s Vote

Published: 19/12/2011 01:32:48 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Extending their lead in the three-stage vote, Egypt's two leading Islamist parties have swept results of the second stage of the country's firs (more)

CAIRO - Extending their lead in the three-stage vote, Egypt's two leading Islamist parties have swept results of the second stage of the country's first free elections since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak, securing more than 70% of votes.

"We have won 39 percent of the votes so far in the lists," an official at the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, December 18.

The Salafist Al-Nour party also confirmed that it had gained "over 30 percent in the lists for the second round."

"The FJP is definitely number one, we have come second," Al-Nour spokesman Mohammed Nur told AFP, adding that most of their candidates will face a run-off on Wednesday.

The second round of elections, which took place in nine provinces over two days, saw a 67 percent turnout, election commission chief Abdel-Moez Ibrahim told reporters.

During the news conference, Ibrahim announced the results for individual seats, saying only one person secured a seat outright.

Run-offs will be held for the other seats where no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the votes needed for outright victory.

The FJP said on its Facebook page that 47 of its candidates would contest run-offs.

Yousry Hamad, a spokesman for Al-Nour party, told Reuters before the committee made its announcement that its list had secured about 35 percent of votes for party lists and the party expected to contest 35 individual seats in the run-off votes.

Though the official breakdown of results for the list vote has yet to be announced, the parties' representatives said they watched the count and their predictions after the first round were broadly accurate.

The election's first stage on November 28 saw Islamist parties crush their liberal rivals, mirroring a pattern established in Tunisia and Morocco following a string of popular uprisings across the region.

The Muslim Brotherhood's FJP represented 11 parties, which are members of the Brotherhood-led Democratic Alliance.

Final results from the first round have revealed the Alliance secured 40 percent of the seats saved for proportional lists. It is not yet clear how many of the winners are from the FJP versus other parties.

The Salafist Al-Nour party came in second place with 24.4 percent. Other liberal parties, including the Egyptian Bloc and El-Wafd Party, gained 29.3 percent.

Electoral Abuses

As the results were announced, the FJP said it was concerned the final result would be skewed, saying it had noted differences between its tally and official numbers.

The party, however, did not specify how the counting may have been flawed.

Independent monitors have listed electoral abuses such as illegal campaigning outside polling stations.

The first-round vote in one district of Cairo will be re-run after ballots were lost or damaged during counting.

The election committee has said violations did not undermine the vote's overall legitimacy. Though Islamists extended their lead, an alliance between the Brotherhood's party and the Salafist  Al-Nour Party was unexpected.

Despite their commanding position built up so far in the vote that runs till January, it is unclear whether the two rival Islamist groups will form an alliance in parliament.

The leadership of the Brotherhood is cautious of a wholly Islamist ruling coalition, which Egyptians from other political trends might view as divisive and polarizing in a period when they think broader national unity is needed.

Al-Nour politicians accuse the Brotherhood of compromising Islamic values.

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