CAIRO: Islamist parties were once more in the lead in round two of parliamentary elections, raking in 72 percent of the seats.
According to the Supreme Electoral Commission, the voter turnout during round two of Egypt’s staggered parliamentary elections was 65 percent in the first stage — 11,173,181 of the eligible 17,383,177 — while turnout in the run-offs on single winner seats was 43 percent, which accounts for 7,498,191 votes.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which heads the Democratic Alliance coalition made up of 11 political parties, won the majority with approximately 161 of 336 seats contested in round one and two, 76 of them in single winner constituencies and around 85 through party lists, which accounts for 48 percent. The Salafi Al-Nour party won around 82 seats so far, which account for 24 percent in both rounds.
Of the 59 seats contested by in the run-off, the FJP and Democratic Alliance candidates won 40, of which the results of four in Sharqiya have been suspended pending a decision by the Supreme Administrative Court over a complaint demanding a halt of elections citing violations.
With a clear majority for Islamists in parliament, political analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah, from Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies says that there will be an attempt at Islamizing legislation.
“We will also find more limits imposed on freedom of opinion, art and creativity. The Muslim Brotherhood has led fierce campaigns against creative works such as Haidar Haidar’s novel [Banquet for Seaweed] which they said was blasphemous,” he said, adding that the Salafis have been doing the same to the works of Naguib Mahfouz.
Abdel Fattah also believes that an Islamists majority will pose a particular threat to women’s rights and international agreements such as CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women).
The oldest liberal party Al-Wafd has so far won only 27 seats.
“Political powers and parliamentarians who are calling for a civil state will be joining forces to face the Islamist majority,” said Maragret Azer, member of Al Wafd’s higher committee, who pointed out that there will be more alliances in the future to face the challenges an Islamist majority will pose.
The Egyptian Bloc, an electoral alliance including the Free Egyptians, the Egyptian Social Democratic and the leftist Al-Tagammu Parties, has so far won 23 seats in total.
“This victory by the Islamists is a clear indication that the majority of the people do not know except the government and the Islamists, which is a by-product of the policies of the ousted regime, in addition to the absence of other parties on the street,” explained Mohamed Farag, secretary general of Al-Tagammu Party, who said that it was expected that Islamists would win, but not as much as they did.
However, Farag insists that the coming parliament will be diverse, housing liberals, Islamists and leftists, and that how Egypt will benefit from this will depend on how the Islamists will interact with the opposition.
“Will they do what the National Democratic Party did as the ruling majority and disregard opposing views? This will drive people back to Tahrir Square if the [dream of] a civil state and a constitution that guarantees rights and freedoms to all segments of society is threatened,” he said.