Egyptian Elections Bring Hope for Some, Fear for Others

Egypt’s military officials, in charge of overseeing the country’s first election in over 30 years, postponed releasing the election's results until Friday.

Unconfirmed reports show the Muslim Brotherhood’s Party of Freedom and Justice is expected to win 40 percent of seats in Egypt’s lower house of Parliament.

The election began with over 4,000 new candidates after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood became a party with a strong presence early on, seeking to win a majority of political seats.

Egyptians turned out in thousands to vote in the first election held since Mubarak’s removal on Feb. 11. The military took control of the country, causing many to rebel. In weeks before this week’s elections, 42 people were killed and 3,000 injured in protests.

Some political leaders have expressed pleasure at the success of the elections.

“We are very satisfied with the election process and the huge turnout,” said Nermeen Yusri, spokesperson for Egypt’s Democratic Coalition to the BBC.

Mohamed Abul Ghar of the Social Democratic Party told BBC reporters that he felt “disappointment…that the other liberals and leftist parties did not gain anything. The Islamists have a clear majority.”

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Party of Freedom and Justice said it wanted a “civil state, defined as a non-military, non-religious state that respects human rights.”

Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at the University of Cairo, offered his opinion to the Al-Shorouq paper.

“The fear is that if the Islamist forces dominate the new parliament, that could lead to an undemocratic system, and one that is authoritarian in the name of religion,” said Nafaa.

The Muslim Brotherhood claimed it wanted a “non-religious” state, but it is seen by many as a faithful, religious political party.

Saad Abdul Aziz told an MSN reporter that the Brotherhood’s party “must be just” because “they look to God.”

Rabab al-Mahdi of the University of Cairo told the American Foreign Press that the election “is an excellent chance to test the group [Muslim Brotherhood]. For years they have been making claims-such as the fact that freedom and religions can be compatible-without being held accountable.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to the elections with the following statement: “I congratulate the Egyptian people for a peaceful, successful start to their election process. The American people will continue to stand by the people of Egypt as they move toward a democratically elected civilian government that respects universal human rights and will meet their aspirations for dignity, freedom, and a better life.”

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