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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid