CAIRO: Members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group have won half of the seats in the Cairo University Teaching Staff Club s elections on Friday.
MB members won seven or eight of the Club board’s 15 seats, according to former Club secretary Nasr Radwan who was reelected for a second term.
“The rest of the seats were taken by a mixture of independent and National Democratic Party (NDP)-affiliated teaching staff, Radwan said.
The results represent a defeat for the leftist and Nasserist forces elected to the Club during its last election in 2007.
“They [the MB] are simply better organized than us, and their supporters are usually careful to vote and attend meetings, said Cairo University professor Abdel Galil Mostafa, a member of the Kefaya movement for change and one of the professors who lost his seat on Friday.
Cairo University professor and political activist Laila Soueif concurred.
“The elections were fair and straightforward. The MB enjoy very strong backing, and their opponents are simply not interested enough to vote against them, Soueif said.
University professors have been in a long-running battle to improve pay and conditions, in a campaign spearheaded by the Club. In March 2008 they staged a one-day strike, while last week they held a protest which they said would be the first of many if the government fails to respond to their demands.
Daily News Egypt asked Mostafa and Soueif how, if at all, the election results would affect the Club s activity.
“They won t affect the Club s activity, but we differ in our approach, Mostafa said. “We really hope that they will understand the necessity of defending the interests of university teaching staff including through peaceful means of protest, Mostafa said.
Soueif confirmed that the Club board is likely to be “more conservative in its approach. “From experience, I know that they tend to prefer to work through diplomacy.
Radwan, however, suggested that policies implemented by the new board will be an “extension of those pursued by the previous administration adding, “five of the new board s members served on the previous board .
Radwan says that the board president will be selected within the coming two weeks.
Meanwhile, a case raised by two NDP-affiliated professors is due to be heard today.
The professors are challenging the elections on the grounds that they were not notified about the date they were scheduled to be held in advance.
Mostafa told Daily News Egypt that he doesn t think the administrative court will rule in favor of the plaintiffs saying, “the allegations are superficial and baseless .