Brotherhood extends gains in Egypt polls
07 December 2011, 16:00
Cairo - Egypt's top Islamist party said on Wednesday
it had extended its gains in the first elections since the fall of
Hosni Mubarak, amid fresh warnings about the sinking economy from the
country's caretaker premier.
The Muslim Brotherhood, banned for
decades until the toppling of Mubarak in February, said its Freedom and
Justice Party had won 36 out of 54 individual seats up for grabs in the
first phase of the multi-stage parliamentary polls.
In a separate
party vote, which will see more than a 100 seats distributed, it won
36.6% while the Islamic fundamentalist party Al-Nur came second with
The FJP's expected landslide victory in the individual
seats - set to be confirmed by official results - and its pre-eminence
in the party voting sets it up to become the leading power in the
498-seat new lower parliament.
"The Islamists win a crushing victory," headlined the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.
one third of districts have voted so far, however, with the remainder
set to head to the polls in a further two waves beginning on December 14
and in January.
Caretaker Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzuri,
speaking late Tuesday, called on the country's political forces to pull
together to help resolve the country's problems.
He singled out
the faltering economy, hit by a decline in tourism and a sharp fall in
investment, as well as security which he said had deteriorated since the
18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak.
"We can't leave security and the economy like this," he told a media conference.
political roadmap is now clear" - leading to a full transfer of control
to the new civilian leaders from the army which took power after
Mubarak stepped down, he added.
"I ask for all the political
movements, all the parties, and every individual to come together for
the good of the country," he said.
of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) warned last week that
Egypt's foreign currency reserves were falling sharply and that it
might only have enough to cover imports until the end of February.
two weeks since the appointment of Ganzuri as premier - widely disliked
by pro-democracy activists - the 78-year-old Mubarak-era politician is
yet to name a cabinet.
He said an announcement could finally come on Wednesday.
his reassurances about Egypt's "roadmap," the new political leaders are
expected to face a fierce power struggle with the army to ensure full
powers are handed over to an elected parliament and president.
The SCAF has already indicated it wants to retain many of its privileges, including oversight over military-related legislation.
prospect of an Islamist-dominated parliament has also raised fears
among liberals about civil liberties, women's rights and religious
freedom in a country with the Middle East's largest Christian minority.
Brotherhood stressed throughout campaigning that Islamic values were
compatible with democracy and that it was in favour of individual
freedoms and working with other non-Islamist political parties.
Al-Nur, a Salafist group that advocates a fundamentalist interpretation
of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, has emerged as a powerful new
influence and is expected to do well in the remaining rounds of voting.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Islamist parties on Tuesday to
"embrace democratic norms and rules" and respect women's rights and
free religious practice.
Presidential hopeful and former Arab
League head Amr Mussa also called on them to "join this era and not
disengage from it" amid fears they want to roll back the new freedoms
supposedly brought by the
The victory of
Islamist parties fits a pattern established in other countries affected
by the pro-democracy movement known as the Arab Spring, with Islamists
also winning elections in Tunisia and Morocco.
movement emerged from the party voting with 29.3% of the vote in the
first round, but it is highly fragmented and split between six different
After the voting for the lower house of parliament,
which will end in January, Egyptians will then elect an upper house in a
further three rounds of polls.
A committee to draft a new constitution will then get to work before presidential elections by the end of June 2012.