Islamic parties sweep Egypt polls
Cairo, Dec 3: Early results from Egypt's first post-revolution election showed Islamic parties sweeping to victory, including hardline Salafists, with secular parties trounced in many areas.
Partial figures trickled in for the areas of the country that voted in record numbers on Monday and Tuesday, confirming earlier predictions that Islamist parties would win at least two thirds of the ballots cast.
In northern Port Said, the moderate Islamist alliance led by the previously banned Muslim Brotherhood triumphed with 32.5 percent of votes for parties, while the hardline Al-Nur party gained 20.7 percent, the Al-Ahram daily said.
The liberal Wafd party won 14 percent, while another Islamist party, Al-Wassat which advocates a strict interpretation of Islamic law, recorded 12.9 percent, according to the state-run newspaper.
In the southern Red Sea district, the Brotherhood's alliance won 30 percent, while secular coalition the Egyptian Bloc came in second with 15 percent, it said.
Full results after the first voting -- which saw 62 percent turnout -- were initially meant to have been published on Wednesday but have been delayed several times.
There appeared few bright spots for the liberal secular movement which played a key role in the overthrow of the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak in February after an 18-day uprising.
It has since splintered and been outgunned by the more organised Brotherhood, well known to Egyptians because of its decades of opposition to the Mubarak regime and its extensive charitable and social work.
In Tahrir Square, the epicentre of protests against Mubarak, demonstrators returned last week to protest against the military rulers who took over when the strongman quit, but their numbers had dwindled to a few hundred on Saturday.
It was only the opening phase of a parliamentary election that is taking place in three stages, but the returns reveal the political trends that will shape the country's transition to democracy.
For the lower house of parliament, the rest of the country will vote in a further two stages later this month and in January. An upper house will then be elected in another three stages.
Voters are required to pass three votes for members of the new lower house: two for individual candidates and one for a party or coalition.
All but four of the individual contests in this week's election will go into a run-off scheduled for Monday because no candidate gained an outright majority.
Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, set to form the largest bloc in parliament, have repeatedly stressed their commitment to multi-party democracy and inclusiveness, and have pledged to ensure freedoms.
The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) says it strives for a "civil state, defined as a non-military non-religious state that respects human rights," according to its political programme.
The Brotherhood and other political parties are expected to face a fierce power struggle with the army to ensure the complete transfer of power to the new civilian leaders.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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