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November 27, 2011

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood Satisfied With Parliamentary Poll

by Peter Clottey

A prominent member of the Guidance Council of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood says the group is satisfied with the the first day of voting in the parliamentary election.

Esam Alarian, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, says his party will continue to make sacrifices to achieve the objective of the revolution, which he said, is to embrace democracy.

“The first day passed in peace without trouble. [There were] a few technical and real errors and I think this is satisfying to all Egyptians,” said Alarian.

Local reports say voters stood in long lines Monday well before polling stations opened, suggesting a large turnout. Many of them said they were voting for the first time. Thousands of Egyptian judges monitored the process with no reported violence or foul play during the vote.

Analysts say the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement officially banned since the 1950s, is poised to win a stronger role in a country run by the military for nearly six decades as an authoritarian secular state.

Alarian praised the efforts of pro-democracy protesters for Monday’s vote.

“The Egyptian people are the heroes of this [election], not any political power,” said Alarian. “The Muslim Brotherhood is part of this society, sacrificing to achieve the goals of our revolution, and that is enough for us.”

Pro-democracy protesters are credited with the uprising that forced long-time President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Alarian says that after the parliamentary election, the attention of the country should be on how to help unemployed Egyptians.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri said last Friday he would not be able to form a new Cabinet before the legislative election. But, a number of the revolutionary youth groups leading the protests have proposed that Nobel Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei head an interim civilian administration with deputies from across the political spectrum. They want the proposed body to replace the military in supervising Egypt's transition to democracy.

Alarian underscored the need to ensure Egyptians elect their own leaders.

“Of course we are keen [for] Egyptians themselves to choose the parliament and the cabinet. Not [only] a few intellectuals… can make a government because this can create chaos. Others can come to Tahrir Square and say, ‘we have the right also to endorse another government,’” said Alarian.

He said the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t consulted before the military rulers nominated the new prime minister.  Alarian called for calm ahead of the outcome of Monday’s parliamentary vote.

“We are waiting to know the result and go to the [next level by] making a new cabinet after the parliamentary election,” he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Cairo, Anne Patterson, has congratulated Egyptians for the elections and the high turnout.