Islamists gain in Egypt's poll

Submitted by Matthew on 14 December, 2011 - 9:39

The second and third stages of elections to the lower house of Egypt's parliament are due on 14 December and 3 January.
Elections to the upper house will start on 29 January, and the new parliament - whose powers are still uncertain - will meet in March.

In the first stage of the lower-house elections, on 28 November, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party won 36.6% of the party-list vote.

The more devout and rigid "salafist" Islamists of Al-Nour got 24.4%, making an Islamist total of 61%. Anecdotal evidence is that many workers voted for the Islamists on grounds that they seemed more "grass-roots" and in touch with people's lives than the liberal, secularist, and leftish parties. They were unworried by the Islamists' repressive attitudes or perhaps accepted their reassuring claims to be moderate,

The Egyptian Bloc (left-liberal) got 13.4%; al-Wafd (the traditional party of the Egyptian bourgeoisie), 7.1%; al-Wasat (a semi-secularising split from the Muslim Brotherhood) 4.3%; and the Revolution Continues Alliance (leftish) 3.5%.

The small new workers' parties in Egypt were unable to stand any candidates.

The further stages of the election, held in remoter rural areas, are likely to increase the Islamists' majority.

The Islamists may well move slowly and cautiously; but these election results pose a threat to the openings for democracy and a new workers' movement created by the Arab Spring and the overthrow of Mubarak.

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