Egypt's Islamists consolidate lead in final round of polling
Muslim Brotherhood claims to win a majority in third round of elections to lower house of parliament; hard line Salafist party comes in second.
The Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt claimed on Saturday to have won a majority in the third round of elections to the lower house of parliament. The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party says it has won 35.2 percent of the votes.
The group also secured six out of 50 seats contested by individual candidates in the same round, reported the broadcaster.
In second place second was Al-Nour, a hardline Salafist party that took the lead in the other two governorates, and won one seat for single candidates. The remaining 43 seats will be the focus of runoff vote set for January 9-10, said the television.
The election, Egypt's first since former president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow last February, is based on a complex system. Two-thirds of the new parliament's seats are allocated for party lists on a proportional representation basis, as the remainder is reserved for individual candidates.
The voter turnout in the final round was 62 per cent, Election Commission chief Abdel Moaez Ibrahim said on Saturday. Liberals have trailed third in the three stages of the legislative polls, mainly in rural districts where the Islamists have a strong support. Full and final results are to be announced later in January.
Banned and oppressed under Mubarak, the Islamists had gained more than 65 per cent of vote in the previous two stages of the staggered election that began on November 28. They are widely expected to dominate the new parliament, the prime task of which is to pick a commission to draft a new constitution for Egypt.