Published: 09:30 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 21 December 2011
Islamist parties extend lead in second round of Egyptian elections
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt
Islamist parties have built on their success in the first round of the Egyptian parliamentary elections, taking an ever greater share of the vote – around 70 per cent – in the second stage.
Unofficial results show that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) received around 39 per cent of votes cast for party lists, while the more hard line Salafist al-Nur Party took around 30 per cent.
Of the 160 individual seats being contested in this round, the FJP won 29, and al-Nur took 23, with secular, liberal parties collecting 16 between them; the rest will be determined in run-off votes later in the week.
Two-thirds of the 498 elected seats in the People's Assembly will be picked through proportional representation, using lists drawn up by parties and alliances. A first-past-the-post-system is being used to decide the remaining seats; individual candidates need more than 50 per cent to avoid a run-off contest.
Islamist success builds
The two Islamist parties took a combined total of around 65 per cent in the first round of voting. The gap between the FJP and al-Nur shrank in the latest round of voting, with the latter gaining ground on the former. In the first stage, the FJP’s alliance took around 40 per cent and al-Nur around 24 per cent.
This was the second of three phases of voting, each taking place in nine provinces. This round took place in more rural and conservative areas than the first stage, and Islamist parties were therefore expected to fare better. The final poll will take place next month.
There has been some evidence of electoral abuses such as illegal campaigning outside polling stations.
Violence mars democracy
Egypt’s post-revolution transition to democracy has been marred by violence. During the latest round of voting, one polling station in Giza was closed for three hours after a shoot-out between rival candidates; no-one was killed. And there was a gunfight between supporters of rival Islamist candidates in a village near Suez.
Shortly after the polls closed, fresh clashes broke out between pro-democracy demonstrators and troops in Cairo.
They began early on Friday when a protestor, who was among several hundred people staging a peaceful protest outside the cabinet offices near parliament, was detained and beaten by troops.
The demonstrators began their sit-in three weeks ago; they are calling for the military rulers to step down immediately and hand over power to a civilian administration.
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