Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist Parties Dominate Egyptian Elections
The Muslim Brotherhood, among the moderate Islamist parties vying for political power in Egypt, is seeking to extent it's lead over other, hardline Islamists factions in run-off elections slated for Monday, according to Reuters Africa.
If elections pan out as expected Monday, the Brotherhood and it's Freedom and Justice Party will hold the most seats in the nation's first democratically elected parliament in nearly six decades. So far, the Brotherhood has captured 36.6 percent of the vote, with the ultra-conservative Salafis at 24.4 percent of the 9.7 million ballots cast, the Los Angeles Times reports.
From Reuters Africa:
The Brotherhood, Egypt's best-organized political group and popular with the poor for its charity work, wants to shape a new constitution to be drawn up next year.
That could be the focus of a power struggle with the ruling military council, which wants to keep a presidential system, rather than the parliamentary one favored by the Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood's success, however, is alarming for many Israeli leaders who consider the rise of Islamist parties in Egypt a "depressing confirmation" of what the Associated Press dubbed a "deeply primal fear" of an already inhospitable region become "more hostile."
From the AP:
Speaking for most people here, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the emerging result of the first round of parliamentary voting in Egypt “very, very disturbing” and expressed concern about the fate of the landmark 1979 Egyptian Israeli peace treaty.
“We are very concerned,” added Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who has long warned that Egypt could potentially pose a threat. Speaking to The Associated Press Sunday, Steinitz expressed hope that Egypt “will not shift to some kind of Islamic tyranny.”
Despite their concern, Israel political experts realize that political Islam is not a uniform movement, the AP reports. The ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, appears "far less eager" to implement a strict interpretation of Islamic law or seek armed conflict with Israel than its rival, and markedly more radical political adversary, the Salafis.
But that hasn't stopped Israel's poltical elite from worrying. There is a sentiment in Israeli that more moderate Islamist parties are pulling off some sort of a con, the AP reported, "lulling opponents into complacency, projecting a seemingly benign piety to exploit a naive public’s hunger for clean government after years of corrupt, despotic rule."
Meanwhile, Egypt's Coptic Christians -- whose rights were, for the most part defended by the Mubarak regime -- were not surprised by the election results.
"There were many hints in recent months that they were going to easily win many seats," said Father Filopater Gameel, a Coptic priest, in an interview with Ahram Online. "The fact that they were insisting that the elections take place while all the other political forces were pleading that the elections be postponed hints that both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists made a deal with the military council."
Despite being significantly outnumbered in Egypt, the country's Christian population and its leaders have vowed to continue their struggle for equal rights amid Egypt's uncertain political theater.
Egyptians will return to the polls Monday to decide the final make-up of the future government. Fifty-two seats in Egypt's complicated voting process remain undecided, and will be finalized during Monday's run-off elections.
To reach Benjamin Gottlieb, click here.
Follow him on Twitter @benjamin_max.
Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?
Or join our email list below to enjoy Neon Tommy News Alerts.