Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was leading in initial, partial results from Egypt’s parliamentary elections but it was facing stiff competition in many places both from more hard-line Islamic groups and from a liberal-secular alliance, judges overseeing counting said Wednesday. The trend from results so far mirrored expectations that the Brotherhood, Egypt’s most powerful fundamentalist group, would make the strongest showing in the first parliament elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
Still, it was too early to extrapolate whether their victory was bigger or smaller than expected, with counting still continuing from the first round of voting, which took place on Monday and Tuesday. The Brotherhood had the biggest share of votes in the capital Cairo and the country’s second biggest city, Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast, as well as the southern city of Luxor, Port Said on the Suez Canal, and Kafr el-Sheikh, a major city in the Nile Delta, according to judges in each area.
The Nour Party, made up of ultraconservative Islamic Salafis, and an alliance of liberal-secular parties known as the Egyptian Bloc came next, roughly running at the same rate, the judges said. They were unable to give proportions for each faction. Between half and 80 percent of the votes had been counted in those areas, they said. The judges, who oversee the count, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the partial results.
The elections for the 498-seat People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament, are taking place in three two-day stages, stretched out until January. In each round, part of the country votes. The areas that voted on Monday and Tuesday – nine of Egypt’s 27 provinces – will determine about 30 percent of the seats.