Islamists in Egypt dominate new Parliament
Newly elected Egyptian MPs and staff work at the Parliament in Cairo. AFP photoFinal results Jan. 21 showed that Islamist parties won nearly three-quarters of the seats in Parliament in Egypt’s first elections since the ouster of authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak, according to election officials and political groups.
The Islamist domination of Egypt’s parliament has worried liberals and even some conservatives about the religious tone of the new legislature, which will be tasked with forming a committee to write a new constitution. It remains unclear whether the constitution will be written while the generals who took power after Mubarak’s fall are still in charge, or rather after presidential elections this summer.
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In the vote for the lower house of parliament, a coalition led by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood won 47 percent, or 235 seats in the 498-seat parliament. The ultraconservative Al-Nour Party was second with 25 percent, or 125 seats.
The two parties are unlikely to join forces because of ideological differences, but both have a long history of charity work in Egypt’s vast poverty-stricken neighborhoods and villages, giving them a degree of legitimacy and popularity across the country in areas where newer liberal parties have yet to get a foothold. Meanwhile, Egypt’s military ruler has pardoned 1,959 people convicted by military courts in the year since President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, including activist Michael Nabil whose hunger strike had brought him close to death. The state Al Nil television channel said the convicts had been pardoned by Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council that has ruled Egypt since Mubarak’s removal in February 2011.