The Muslim Brotherhood has won more than a third of seats allocated to party lists in Egypt’s first freely elected parliament in decades, as the lower house gears up to meet tomorrow nearly a year after protests began against Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
All told, Islamist parties are set to fill around 70 percent of the seats. Final results published yesterday confirmed the Brotherhood’s big win, giving it a major role in drafting the country’s new constitution.
Meanwhile, protesters took to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday to protest the continued rule of the Supreme Military Council. More demonstrations are expected tomorrow throughout Egypt; the action is expected to swell on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the start of protests.
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has promised that all Egyptians will have a voice in the new parliament, after elections are held for the upper house of parliament
at the end of this month.
Under a complex electoral system, two-thirds or 332 of the seats in the lower house are decided by proportional representation on closed party lists. The other third are contested by individual candidates.
According to final results of the staggered election issued by the election committee, the Brotherhood’s electoral alliance took a 38 percent share of the seats allocated to lists. The committee’s chairman said 27 million people had cast their votes.
The hardline Islamist Al-Nour Party won 29 percent of list seats. The liberal New Wafd and Egyptian Bloc coalition came in third and fourth respectively.
The Revolution Continues coalition, dominated by youth groups at the forefront of the protests that toppled Mubarak, attracted less than a million votes and took just seven of the 498 seats up for grabs in the lower house.
The election committee did not give results for individual seats, but the FJP’s alliance said yesterday it now expected to take more than 47 percent of all seats in the lower house.
While the strong Islamist performance has alarmed liberal Egyptians and Western governments who had close ties to Mubarak, it is unclear if rival Islamists will team up in the assembly.
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. That is also when the presidential elections will take place.
The military council, which took over Mubarak’s duties after he was ousted in February, also named its choices yesterday for the 10 parliamentary seats reserved for presidential appointees.
Only one woman was among the appointees − a development likely to further disappoint feminist groups after women won only a handful of seats in the elections. Mubarak had traditionally used a quota to boost the representation of women and Coptic Christians.
Over recent months, the military council has tried to create facts on the ground to ensure that its powers would not be curtailed in the newly minted legislature.
But at week’s end, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie told an Egyptian television station the group would ensure that parliament “determines the people’s needs and protects their rights.” It would also ensure funding to the military.
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