Egyptians voted on Monday in run-off contests for parliamentary seats, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s party trying to extend its lead over hardline Islamists and liberal parties in a political landscape redrawn by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) is set to take the most seats in Egypt’s first free election in six decades, bolstering its hand in any struggle with the ruling army council for influence over the most populous Arab nation.
The Brotherhood, banned from politics until an uprising ended Mubarak’s 30-year rule on Feb. 11, said after the first-round vote that everyone should “accept the will of the people”. Its stiffest competition has come from the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour Party. Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, was expected to see some of the tightest races between the two parties in the run-off votes for individual candidates.
“The Brotherhood will win, we know them. The Salafis are new to us and we don’t know what they will do,” said Walid Mohamed, 30, a quality controller at a pharmaceutical factory in Alexandria.
“The competition won’t weaken either of them. The most important thing is that the winners rule us by Islam,” he added.
The phased election that runs until January is part of a promised transition from military to civilian rule in July after a presidential election in June.
The head of the election committee, Abdul Moez Ibrahim, had put the turnout in last week’s voting at 62 percent, but on Monday he told a news conference the figure had been revised to 52 percent, blaming a counting error.