Islamists in Egypt aim to win 2nd round
CAIRO - ReutersIslamists who swept to victory in the first stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections were looking to extend their winning streak in a second round of voting started yesterday.
Some 18.8 million Egyptians are eligible to cast their ballots in this round of the first legislative polls since a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-rule in February. The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which clinched the most seats in the opening phase through its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), was eager to sustain the momentum in the polls that will continue today. “For a strong parliament, which meets the demands, the concerns and the priorities of the people, let’s continue,” the party said on its official Facebook page. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie has sought to reassure voters, saying his group wants to work in a broad coalition after the parliamentary election that is staggered over six weeks and ends in January. “We will not rule Egypt alone. Parliament will include all the colors of the rainbow that must agree on one direction, one goal,” he told a private television channel this month.
The Egyptian Bloc alliance, which includes liberal parties founded just months ago in the wake of Mubarak’s downfall, and the decades old liberal Wafd party together secured about 20 percent of the votes for party lists in the first round. Liberal politicians say they are trying to coordinate their effort more effectively in this round to avoid splitting their vote and have also tried to revitalize campaigns with more active street canvassing. At the first round of the elections, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm took 47 percent of the contested seats and the ultraconservative Al-Nour party took 21 percent. The liberal Egyptian Bloc took nine percent.