Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Islamists expected to hold or gain ground in elections

Egypt's Islamist political parties were expected to cement or increase their hold of the new parliament yesterday

CAIRO // Egypt's Islamist political parties were expected to cement or increase their hold of the new parliament yesterday, as citizens from a largely rural section of country voted in the second of three phases.

The first round of elections for the lower house of parliament on November 28-29 saw the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Freedom and Justice Party, the Salafist Al Nour party and Al Wasat party together gain more than 70 per cent of the vote, according to unofficial data released by political groups and observers.

That round of voting took place in some of the largest metropolitan centres, such as Cairo and Alexandria, where the liberal and secular parties had the largest following. The second phase includes rural areas in Upper Egypt such as Sohâg and Aswan, where Islamists dominate the local political scene.

It also includes Beheira, Sharqiya, Suez, Beni Suef, and Monoufiya.

"It would be a big surprise if the vote share of the Islamists that we saw in the previous stage decreased," said Mazen Hassan, a professor specialising in politics and election law at Cairo University.

Egypt's elections are spread out over three periods, with the final round to be held early January, before another six weeks of elections for the upper house, or Shura council.

As there are breaks between the phases, political parties on both sides of the spectrum - Islamist and secular - are reorganising their campaigns and making last-minute alliances to gain more seats.

Mr Hassan called this the "bandwagon effect", in which parties that performed poorly in the first round, such as some of the youth groups and old guard parties connected to the former regime, would drop out or join a bigger rival. The Egypt Bloc, an alliance of liberal and secular groups, could manage to get a few extra seats if this pays off, he said.

"We are starting to see coordination with the Egyptian Bloc and other secular parties because they know that their chances are extremely limited and they get slimmer over time," he said.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National