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75% of Egypt parliament Islamist

Final results show that Islamist parties won nearly three-quarters of the seats in parliament in Egypt's first elections since the ousting 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.

Overseeing the process will be the country's Mubarak-era military generals, who are still in charge.

A coalition led by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood won 47%, or 235, seats in the 498-seat parliament. The ultra-conservative Al-Nour Party was second with 25%, or 125 seats.

The Salifi Al-Nour, which was the biggest surprise of the vote, wants to impose strict Islamic law in Egypt while the more moderate Brotherhood, the country's best-known and organised party, has said publicly that it does not seek to force its views about an appropriate Islamic lifestyle on Egyptians.

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 neighbourhoods 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.

The liberals who spearheaded the revolt which toppled Mubarak struggled to organise and connect with a broader public in the vote, and did not fair as well as the Islamists.

The Egyptian bloc, which is headed by a party founded by Christian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, said it won 9% of the seats in parliament. Egypt's oldest secular party, the Wafd, also won around 9%.

Newer parties, such as the liberal Revolution Continues Party won 2%, as did the Islamist Centre Party, which had been banned from politics under Mubarak.

The results leave the liberal groups with little room for manoeuvre in parliament, unless they choose to mobilise the street in protests or work on key issues with the dominant Islamist groups, said Mohamed Abu-Hamed, the deputy leader of the liberal Free Egyptians Party.


From Belfast Telegraph