Islamists look to extend gains in Egypt | Pakistan Today

Islamists look to extend gains in Egypt

Islamist candidates in Egypt looked Monday to extend their crushing victory in the country’s first parliamentary elections since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak, as voters turned out for run-off polls.
Last week, residents in a third of districts including Cairo and second-city Alexandria cast ballots at the start of the multi-stage polls, choosing a party and two candidates for a new 498-seat lower house of parliament.
In the party returns, Islamists picked up at least 65 percent of votes, with the more moderate Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in first place with 36.6 percent and the hardline Salafist Al-Nur party in second with 24.4 percent. In the individual contests, all but four of the 56 seats up for grabs went into a run-off vote being held on Monday, with about 20 of them being contested between an FJP and an Al-Nur candidate. The surge in Salafist groups, which advocate a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, has raised fears among increasingly marginalised liberals about civil liberties and religious freedom.
Voter turnout for the run-offs seemed far below the 62-percent level seen last Monday and Tuesday, when queues had formed early in the morning outside polling stations. The Brotherhood’s FJP had been widely forecast to triumph in the first free election in decades.

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