Oh, this bodes well for impartial and transparent governance in the New Egypt. Of course, the Ikhwan has gained popularity by railing against corruption under Mubarak. It is easy to criticize the other guy’s corruption and cronyism. But the Brotherhood has already shown its own propensity toward corruption, both in vote buying and other election tampering in two elections (last week’s, and the constitutional referendum in March), and now in its refusal to discuss it.
“Egypt Islamists tell rivals to accept vote result,” by Tom Pfeiffer and Tamim Elyan for Reuters, December 2:
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called on its rivals to accept the will of the people on Saturday after a first-round vote set its party on course to take the most seats in the country’s first freely elected parliament in six decades.
Preliminary results showed the Brotherhood’s liberal rivals could be pushed into third place behind ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists, mirroring the trend in other Arab countries where political systems have opened up after popular uprisings.
The Brotherhood is Egypt’s best-organised political group and popular among the poor for its long record of charity work. Banned but semi-tolerated under President Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled on February 11 by a street revolt, the Brotherhood now wants a role in shaping the country’s future.
Giving new meaning to “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”:
Rivals accused the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party of using handouts of cheap food and medicine to influence voters and of breaking election rules by lobbying outside voting stations.
Not to mention setting up stations to “show people how to vote.”
The Brotherhood told critics to back off and respect the result.
No magnanimity in victory here.
“We call upon everyone, and all those who associate themselves with democracy, to respect the will of the people and accept their choice,” it said in a statement after the first-round vote, which drew an official turnout of 62 percent.
“Those who weren’t successful … should work hard to serve people to win their support next time,” the Brotherhood added.
That all depends on when the next election is, and what the next constitution allows, among other things.
The world is watching the election for pointers to the future in Egypt, the most populous Arab nation and one hitherto seen as a firm U.S. ally committed to preserving its peace treaty with Israel and fighting Islamist militancy.
The Brotherhood’s political opponents say it seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) on a country that also has a large Christian minority.
The movement insists it will pursue a moderate agenda if it wins power and do nothing to damage an economy reliant on millions of Western tourists.
The tourism industry has already tanked.