Egypt will hear the results of elections which Islamist parties expect to win on Friday, and protesters gathered at a rally to remember 42 people killed in clashes with police last month.
Islamist success at the polls in the most populous Arab nation would reinforce a trend in North Africa. Moderate Islamists lead governments in Morocco and post-uprising Tunisia after election wins in the last two months.
Egyptians voting freely for the first time since army officers ousted the king in 1952 seem willing to give Islamists a chance. “We tried everyone, why not try sharia (Islamic law) once?” asked Ramadan Abdel Fattah, 48, a bearded civil servant.
Parliament, whose exact makeup will be clear only after Egypt’s staggered voting process ends in January, may challenge the power of the generals who took over in February after an uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak, an ex-air force chief. Under pressure to hand over to civilian rule, the military council said it will keep powers to appoint or fire a cabinet and the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamic group, appeared to back off a statement from the party’s head that the majority in parliament should form a government.
Some Egyptians fear the Brotherhood might try to impose Islamic curbs on a tourism-dependent country whose 80 million people include a 10 percent Coptic Christian minority. But the Brotherhood, with deep roots in Egyptian society dating back to 1928, says its priorities are ending corruption, reviving the economy and establishing a true democracy in Egypt.
Full Article: Egypt awaits poll results as Tahrir protest starts | Reuters.