The White House has said the democratic process is the important thing here. But a democracy’s ability to protect human rights and civil liberties is only as good as the values that inform its participants. These elected officials are the people who are set to draft the country’s next constitution. “Islamist parties dominate Egypt election,” from Agence France-Presse, December 19:
Egypt’s largest Islamist parties have claimed the lead in the second round of a multi-stage legislative election, confirming them as front-runners in the first post-revolution parliament.
The second round of elections, which took place in nine provinces over two days, saw a 67 per cent turnout, election commission chief Abdel Moez Ibrahim said.
The ruling military, which took power when Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February, has decided on a complex election system in which voters cast ballots for party lists, which will comprise two thirds of parliament, and for individual candidates for the remaining third of the lower house.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party (FJP) said it won 39 per cent of votes in the party lists, with no outright winner for their individual candidates who face a run-off on Wednesday.
The Al-Nur party, which represents the more hardline brand of Salafi Islam has claimed over 30 per cent of votes in the lists.
“We have won 39 per cent of the votes so far in the lists,” the FJP office told AFP.
Al-Nur confirmed it had gained “over 30 per cent in the lists for the second round”.
“The FJP is definitely number one; we have come second,” Al-Nur spokesman Mohammed Nur told AFP, adding that most of their candidates will face a run-off on Wednesday.
Voting took place in a third of the country’s 27 provinces. However, voting for the party lists was postponed until Wednesday in the Nile Delta provinces of Menufiya and Beheira and in the southern governorate of Sohag.
Islamist parties trounced their liberal rivals in the first round of the elections, which kicked off on November 28, securing about 65 per cent of all votes cast for parties.
The Muslim Brotherhood had been widely forecast to triumph as the country’s most organised political group, well known after decades of charitable work and opposition to the 30-year regime of Hosni Mubarak.
But the showing from Salafist groups, which advocate a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, was a surprise, raising fears of a more conservative and overtly religious 498-member new parliament.
The media would rather say “conservatism” and being religious are the problem than to say it is the imposition of Sharia that poses the threat here.
The results in Egypt fit a pattern established in Tunisia and Morocco, where Islamists have also gained in elections as they benefit from the new freedoms brought by the pro-democracy movements of the Arab Spring.
We tried to tell you.