Islamic extremists dominate Egypt’s parliamentary elections

Map of the Middle East
Map of the Middle East

From the Wall Street Journal.


Unofficial initial results from the first two days of Egypt’s parliamentary elections pointed to a dominant showing for Islamist candidates, fulfilling most analysts’ expectations that conservative religious politicians could have the upper hand in next year’s drafting of a new Egyptian constitution.

Initial tallies put the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, in a leading position, followed by the Nour Party, which represents the ultraconservative Salafi school of Islam, FJP said.

An FJP official said the party’s vote-counting observers expect the group to win as much as 50% of the vote. A Nour Party spokesman said the early returns point to a Salafi capture of about 10% to 15% of seats in the incoming Parliament.

The Egyptian Bloc, a list of liberal parties dominated by the left-leaning Social Democrat Party and the pro-market Free Egyptians Party, appeared to be in third place. Official early results are expected to be announced on Thursday, the High Elections Commission said.

The results are far from final—a second and third round of elections covering two-thirds of Egypt’s 27 governorates are scheduled to take place in December and January. Individual candidate races that didn’t secure at least 51% will face runoffs beginning next week.

But the early results indicate that Egypt—the largest Arab country and under former President Hosni Mubarak one of the region’s staunchest defenders of secular governance—is set to pivot toward political Islam. The next voting rounds include mostly smaller Egyptian cities and villages, where Islamist rule is popular.

Such an outcome would surprise few Egyptians or political observers. Egypt’s deeply religious population grated under the ousted regime’s secular policies, and Tunisia and Morocco have recently awarded pluralities to moderate Islamist parties.

[…]Both Salafi and Brotherhood representatives said it was too early to say whether the two groups would form a coalition in Parliament—an alliance that would give Islamists a powerful majority.

This is what Obama bought us by taking his eye off the ball in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and Iran. We had no business firing a shot in Libya and Egypt. There was no strategic reason for us to be there.

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