Islamic parties set for strong showing as liberals lose out



Egypt is on course to enter an uncharted era of Islamist rule after preliminary election results yesterday suggested the Muslim Brotherhood could secure nearly half the seats in parliament.

Official results are to be released today, but analysis gathered by local newspapers pointed to a crushing Brotherhood victory over Egypt's liberal forces.

The biggest surprise could lie in the success of the Al-Nour Party, or Party of Light, a fundamentalist Salafi group whose members aspire towards a literalist view of Islam. Early indications showed the party could finish in second place and take a quarter of the vote, an impressive feat for an organisation which did not exist until the fall of Hosni Mubarak early this year.

Judges overseeing the poll said that members of the liberal Egyptian Bloc coalition, which includes the Free Egyptians Party founded by a billionaire telecoms magnate, Naguib Sawiris, were also vying for second place.

The apparent success of Egypt's Islamic parties could give them a key role in shaping the country's future. The Muslim Brotherhood is already demanding the right to form a new government, and the group could also have a strong influence over how the next constitution is devised. But with the ruling Military Council planning to stay put until July, it remains unclear exactly what powers any new parliament will wield.

Dr Maha Azzam, of the Chatham House think-tank and an expert on Islamist movements, said the reported success of the Salafists – whose followers sometimes believe in stoning adulterers and other hardline sharia punishments – should not come as a surprise. "They have worked at the grassroots level for many years," she said. "They have gone unnoticed to a large extent because they did not engage in politics, but that did not mean their religious message was not strong."

Former President Hosni Mubarak tried to exploit Salafism as a counter-weight to the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, a process which spawned influential Salafi satellite channels which help disseminate the doctrine.

The main losers in Egypt's parliamentary elections could end up being the country's liberal and secular forces, many of whom represented some of the key players who helped bring down President Hosni Mubarak.

Voting for Egypt's lower house will not be completed until January, while elections to the upper house of parliament are to finish in March.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam