Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Brotherhood set for election win

Election workers count ballots for the parliamentary elections in Luxor, Egypt (AP)

Leaders of the once-banned Islamic group the Muslim Brotherhood have demanded to form a new government in Egypt after partial results indicated they were the biggest winner in landmark parliamentary elections.

But the generals who took power after the February fall of Hosni Mubarak have insisted they will name the government and the parliament would have no right to dissolve it.

They have also sought to wrest from the new parliament the more long-reaching and crucial role of running the process for writing the new constitution.

But the Brotherhood's confidence is riding high after the unexpectedly large turnout this week for two days of voting. Millions lined up at the polls for the first of multiple rounds of balloting in the country's first free election in living memory.

Even before polls closed, Mohammed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, said the majority in parliament must put together the government, which should be a coalition of the main parties.

Another top Brotherhood figure, Sobhi Saleh, said Mursi's comments were a message to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces not to act unilaterally.

"You can't come and say, 'I choose the government and I sack the government.' It's over, the people have emerged," he said.

"If you impose a government on me that I don't endorse, you are creating tension in the relationship."

The high turnout, he said, shows that Egyptians want a fully empowered parliament and that "you, yourself, are subject to the people's authority", referring to the generals.

Final results from the round, which covered nine of Egypt's 27 provinces, will be issued on Thursday.

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