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Landslide Win For Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
January 21, 2012

The final results for Egypt’s parliamentary elections are in, and while there are no surprises, the Muslim Brotherhood exceeded expectations by capturing 47 percent of the vote.

The final election results were read out Saturday with little ceremony, but the final tally cemented what most people in Egypt already know — Islamists groups are the new political powerhouse in post-revolutionary Egypt.

Out of the almost 28 million people who voted in these elections, almost half cast their ballots for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party — the FJP. That’s a staggering victory for a group that was oppressed and marginalized under former leader Hosni Mubarak.

Coming in second with a quarter of the seats is Al Nour, the new party representing Salafis — hardline Islamists who believe in the segregation of sexes in public life.

Altogether, that means Islamists will control a whopping 70 percent of Egypt’s parliament.

Coming in third is WAFD, a nationalist party founded in the aftermath of World War I. Many people discounted its electoral power, but it did relatively well, considering. New parties formed after Egypt’s revolution fared badly; the Egyptian Bloc, representing a union of secular liberal groups, came in fourth.

Because no quota system was put in place, women will also have little representation in the lower house of parliament, something that has outraged Egypt’s women activists. Less than 2 percent of parliamentarians will be female.

Whether Islamist groups will band together to push through a conservative agenda is still unclear. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis are rivals, but they’ve already reached an initial power-sharing agreement over who will become the new speaker of parliament.

As the new kings of the political scene, The FJP has promised to reach out to all the different parties.

The biggest confrontation, however, may not be between the parties but rather between the ruling military junta and the newly empowered groups in Egypt. It’s not yet clear what authority the parliament will have, and there are indications the generals running this country won’t cede control easily.

The new parliament is expected to convene on Monday.

Saturday’s announcement of the election results comes nearly one full year since Egypt’s revolution began. Those protests ultimately toppled Mubarak, and more country-wide protests are expected to mark the anniversary on Wednesday. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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