Islamist Groups Expected to Dominate Egypt's Second Parliamentary Elections

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  • Egypt Elections
    (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
  • A woman casts her vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Cairo, Egypt on Nov. 28, 2011.
    (Photo: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)
    A woman casts her vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Cairo, Egypt on Nov. 28, 2011.
  • Egypt Military
    (Reuters/Middle East News Agency)
    Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (C), the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF),and members of the SCAF, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in meeting with political parties and presidential candidates at the Defense Ministry in Cairo November 27, 2011. Egyptians start voting in a parliamentary election tomorrow, the first such vote since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising in February, although the poll has been overshadowed by clashes between police and protesters in the run-up.
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Islamist Victories in Egyptian Election Cause Concern for Christians
Islamist Victories in Egyptian Election Cause Concern for Christians
Carl Moeller: On The Situation in Egypt for Christians
Carl Moeller: On The Situation in Egypt for Christians
By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
December 14, 2011|9:18 am

Islamic parties, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Justice party, are expected to dominate the second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, which began Wednesday, as they did in the first round of voting.

The Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice party dominated the first round of parliamentary elections, winning 45 percent of the seats in parliament. The Brotherhood is the country’s largest and most popular political party, and stands neck-to-neck with its more fundamentalist Islamic competitor, the Salafi Al-Nour party, which garnered roughly 25 percent of the first round seats.

“I think the major trend will continue (in the second round) with some minor changes. The [Freedom and Justice Party] will be first, but I think the percentage will be reduced relative to the first round,” Hassan Abou Taleb, political analyst at the Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, told Reuters

Wednesday’s kick-off marks two out of three election phases, which will end at the beginning of the next year. These parliamentary votes mark the first free elections in six decades, symbolizing a significant change in direction after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

According to the BBC’s John Leyne, the conservative Al-Nour party is expected to gain substantial momentum in the country’s most conservative areas.

Religious minorities, including Coptic Christians, fear that an Islamic party win will thwart the government’s democratic progress, making the sweat, blood and tears poured into the Arab Spring uprisings futile.

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Although the more pragmatic Muslim Brotherhood promises to pursue a democratic government which balances powers between the military, parliament, and government, critics continue to have their doubts.

Evidence suggests The Muslim Brotherhood may prove more religiously conservative than promised. At a “Let’s Encourage Tourism” rally Sunday, party candidate Azza Al-Jarf told roaring crowds that tourists will not be permitted to drink when visiting the country’s many historic ruins.

Similarly, the party maintains close ties with the interim Military council, suggesting that the military will maintain a stifling hold on government decisions even after a new parliament and new constitution.

In light of criticism, the Muslim Brotherhood continues to assert its plan for a democratic government.

 Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie told a private television station earlier this month that the political party plans to govern parliament with “all colors of the rainbow” in mind, and that leaders must agree on “one direction, one goal.” 

 

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