Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsy speaks to journalists in Cairo earlier this month
Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsy speaks at a press conference in Cairo on January 16. The party has won 47.18 percent of the seats in parliament, the electoral commission announced as it gave the final results from marathon polls. © Str - AFP
Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsy speaks to journalists in Cairo earlier this month
AFP
Last updated: January 21, 2012

Egypt's Brotherhood wins 47% of parliament seats

Egypt's Islamists led by the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood clinched more than two thirds of seats in parliament in historic polls after the ouster of strongman Hosni Mubarak, official results showed on Saturday.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 235 seats in the new People's Assembly, or 47.18 percent, electoral committee head Abdel Moez Ibrahim told a news conference, giving the final results from marathon polls.

The Brotherhood's FJP secured 127 seats on party lists and its candidates won another 108 in first-past-the-post constituency votes.

The ultra-conservative Salafist Al-Nur party came second with 121 seats or 24.29 percent, and the liberal Wafd Party was third with nearly nine percent.

The liberal Egyptian Bloc -- which includes the Free Egyptians party of telecoms magnate Naguib Sawiris who is facing trial on allegations of insulting Islam -- came fourth with around seven percent.

The landmark election was the first since Mubarak's overthrow last February. It began in November and was carried out in three stages.

The People's Assembly, or lower house, is made up of 498 elected MPs and 10 appointed by the ruling military which took over after Mubarak quit last February 11. It will hold its first session on Monday.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), has said the 10 appointed MPs will include five Christians and two women.

"The train of democracy has entered the station and elected the first People's Assembly since the January 25 revolution," Ibrahim said.

In Egypt's complex electoral system, voters cast ballots for party list candidates to make up two thirds of parliament, and direct votes for individual candidates for the remaining third.

Elections for parliament's upper house, the Shura Council, are to begin later this month and conclude in February. Then the two chambers will choose a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution.

A new president is to be elected by June under the timetable set by the military rulers who announced that candidates can register for the presidency from April 15.

The SCAF has pledged to transfer power to civilian rule after a new president is elected but there is a widespread belief it will not do so.

The Brotherhood, Egypt's best organised political movement, had been widely expected to triumph in the polls through the FJP.

But the surge by Al-Nur and the high visibility of Salafi movements have raised fears among increasingly marginalised liberals about civil liberties and religious freedom.

The Brotherhood has repeatedly tried to reach out to Egyptians, particularly liberal parties.

Supreme guide Mohammed Badie said on Egyptian television late Friday that "the People's Assembly alone will reflect the people to achieve their needs and safeguard their rights."

He also warned the military it would account for any violations and that parliament will be empowered to decide its budget.

"The elected parliament has the right to take to account all state institutions, including the military institution," Badie told the private Dream network, according to remarks published by the Brotherhood's website.

The military has been the backbone of Egyptian politics ever since the fall of the monarchy in 1952, and every president since has emerged from the top ranks of the armed forces.

Badie said, however, that the army's prestige "should not be undermined" and urged Egyptians to unite and join in the grandiose celebrations being prepared by the military rulers to celebrate the revolution's first anniversary.

"We would like Egypt to stand as one on the day of the celebration (of the revolution) in order to protect the blood of the martyrs and confront the enemies of the revolution."

The military judiciary, meanwhile, said on Saturday that blogger Michael Nabil, jailed for three years last April for criticising the military, has been pardoned with 1,959 other prisoners to mark one year since Mubarak's downfall.

Youth groups who were the driving force behind the protests that toppled Mubarak and his regime have said they will not join in the anniversary festivities because their demands for reform have not been met.

A statement from the April 6 movement said their demands for social justice, freedom of expression and "to restore the dignity of the Egyptian people" have not been met and corruption still prevails.

"We will take to the streets on January 25 to pursue the goals of the revolution, not to celebrate as some wish," the statement added.

Protests are also due on Monday when the People's Assembly holds its first session.

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