Civil rights and liberties? Women’s rights? Freedom of conscience and speech? The rights of non-Muslims and ex-Muslims? Transparency, accountability, and limitations on power in government? The eradication of female genital mutilation? Where all of these and other issues are concerned, a democracy is only as good as the values that inform its participants. “Egypt Islamists claim 62% in latest voting,” from Agence France Presse, January 7:
Egypt’s two main Islamist parties claimed on Saturday to have together taken 62.2 percent of the vote in the final stage of a general election, maintaining their lead in the overall contest.
The Freedom and Justice Party of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood said on its website that it had garnered 35.2 percent of the party list vote in the polling in the final nine governorates on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Al-Nur party of the even more conservative Salafists, said it received 27 percent.
The two parties chalked up 65 percent in the first two phases of Egypt’s first general election since the February ouster of president Hosni Mubarak.
The elections for the lower house of parliament have divided up the country geographically.
The last stage included the unstable Sinai region, which lies along the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip and includes the country’s popular Red Sea tourist resorts.
Under the complex electoral system adopted after Mubarak’s ouster, second-round run-offs still have to be held later this month where necessary for the one third of seats that are decided in first-past-the-post constituencies.
From January 29, two-stage elections will then be held for the upper house.
Once the new parliament has been sworn in, a commmission will be appointed to draft a new constitution before presidential elections are held by the end of June.