Islamists sweep early results | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 04, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 04, 2011

Egypt Polls

Islamists sweep early results

Liberals, protest figures have few bright spots


A picture taken yesterday shows a relatively empty Tahrir Square. Protestors have started leaving the square with only a few hardliners boosted by day tourists still occupying their tents overnight.Photo: AFP

Early results from Egypt's first post-revolution election showed Islamist parties sweeping to victory, including hardline Salafists, with secular parties trounced in many areas.
Partial figures trickled in for the areas of the country that voted in record numbers on Monday and Tuesday, confirming earlier predictions that Islamist parties would win at least two thirds of the ballots cast.
In Port Said, the moderate Islamist alliance led by the previously banned Muslim Brotherhood triumphed with 32.5 percent of votes for parties, while the hardline Al-Nur party gained 20.7 percent, the state-owned Al-Ahram daily said.
The liberal Wafd party won 14 percent, while another Islamist party Al-Wassat, which advocates a strict interpretation of Islamic law, recorded 12.9 percent, according to Al-Ahram.
In the southern Red Sea district, the Brotherhood's alliance won 30 percent, while secular coalition the Egyptian Bloc came in second with 15 percent, said Al-Ahram.
Full results were initially meant to have been published on Wednesday but have been delayed several times. The election commission promised on Friday evening at a chaotic press conference to post them on its website.
There appeared few bright spots for the liberal secular movement which played a key role in the overthrow of the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak in February after an 18-day uprising.
It has since splintered and has been outgunned by the more organised Brotherhood, well known to Egyptians as a result of its decades of opposition to the Mubarak regime and its extensive charitable and social work.
In Cairo, the rising star of the movement, Amr Hemzawi, won a seat in the upmarket Heliopolis district, but elsewhere leading figures of the revolution were either struggling or had been beaten.
In Tahrir Square, the epicentre of protests against Mubarak, demonstrators had returned last week to protest against the military rulers who took over when the strongman quit but their numbers had dwindled to a few hundred yesterday.
According to independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yum, no women were elected in the first round.
It was only the opening phase of a parliamentary election that is taking place in three stages, but the returns reveal the political trends that will shape the country's transition to democracy.
For the lower house of parliament, the rest of the country will vote in a further two stages later this month and in January. An upper house will then be elected in another three stages.
The prospect of an Islamist-dominated parliament raises fears among liberals about civil liberties, religious freedom in a country with the Middle East's largest Christian minority, and tolerance of multi-party democracy.
Independent Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Abou Ismail told a television interviewer this week that he would prevent "men and women from sitting together in public," press reports said.
However, the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party says it strives for a "civil state, defined as a non-military non-religious state... that respects human rights" according to its political programme.

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