News / Africa

Egypt's Islamists Compete for Votes in Runoff Elections

A man prepares to cast his vote during the second day of the parliamentary runoff elections at a polling station in Cairo, December 6, 2011.
A man prepares to cast his vote during the second day of the parliamentary runoff elections at a polling station in Cairo, December 6, 2011.

Egypt is holding a second day of runoff elections for the national parliament, with rival Islamist parties engaging in increasingly heated competition for votes in the country's two largest cities and seven other provinces.

Voting for the 52 individual seats in Cairo, Alexandria and the other provinces began Monday and was due to end Tuesday. Twenty-four of the races are a contest between candidates from Egypt's two main Islamist groups: the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the ultra-conservative Salafist Nour Party.

Major Alliances for Egypt's Parliamentary Elections

Democratic Alliance for Egypt: Formed in June 2011, it was the first significant political coalition to emerge after President Hosni Mubarak's February resignation. The coalition is led by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and includes at least five other political groups. The alliance started out as a broad-based coalition of liberal and Islamist parties but some of its original members left due to ideological differences.

Islamist Alliance (Alliance for Egypt): Led by the Salafist party al-Nour and includes at least two other groups. Its members were originally part of the Democratic Alliance but split because of a disagreement over the number of candidates they would be able to field in the elections. The Islamist Alliance formed in late September.

Egyptian Bloc: The liberal coalition has lost members since its formation in August and now includes only the Free Egyptians, Social Democratic and al-Tagammu parties. The bloc says it hopes to bring together political forces that are committed to a civil democratic state based on a principle of separation between religion and politics.

Completing the Revolution Alliance: Formed in October, the alliance includes youth, socialist, liberal and moderate Islamist parties. Most were formerly part of the Egyptian Bloc. Members include the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, the Egypt Freedom Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party.

Tensions high

Witnesses say tensions between the rival Islamist parties were high in some runoff districts, with Nour supporters ordering Brotherhood campaign workers to leave areas around polling stations. Egypt's military rulers have made polling station zones off limits to campaigners from all parties to try to ensure a fair vote.

The two Islamist parties are seeking to build on strong results from last week's party-list vote held at the same time as the first round of voting for individual candidates. Party-list results released Sunday put Freedom and Justice in the lead with 37 percent, with Nour in second place at 24 percent and the liberal Egyptian Bloc in third with 13 percent.

The Salafist party advocates a strict interpretation of Islam that calls for segregation of the sexes, the full veiling of women and a ban on alcohol. Nour's strong election results have worried many liberal Egyptians who see it as a threat to their civil liberties.

Human rights

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday Washington expects all "democratic actors" in Egypt to uphold universal human rights, including women's rights, and to allow free religious practice. She was speaking at a European forum in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

Clinton also called on Egypt's military rulers to ensure that free and fair voting continues through the next election rounds and to "expeditiously" transfer "real authority" to a new civilian government. The military took control of Egypt after a popular uprising forced autocratic president Hosni Mubarak to quit in February.

Next stage

Egypt's remaining 18 provinces will join the voting for the lower house of parliament in two stages in the coming weeks. Elections for parliament's less-powerful upper house will begin in late January and finish in March.

Voter turnout for the runoffs appeared lower on Monday and Tuesday than for the first round of voting on November 28 and 29. Egypt's election committee also lowered its estimate of the first-round turnout from 62 percent to 52 percent.

Nour quit an electoral alliance with the Brotherhood before the vote and has given no sign of wanting to renew the partnership in parliament. The secretary general of the Brotherhood's FJP Saad el-Katatni told the Associated Press that his party will try to form a broad coalition that includes liberal groups and new Islamist factions.

The Brotherhood was officially banned for decades under Mubarak, but its members continued to engage in politics as independents while establishing a nationwide network of charities popular with millions of impoverished people.

Egypt's Salafists shunned politics in the Mubarak era but decided to compete for parliament after the country's new military rulers promised free elections.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs