• MB News
  • November 21, 2005
  • 4 minutes read

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood increases election gains despite arrests

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood increases election gains despite arrests

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood increases election gains despite arrests
With 47 seats in Parliament and the prospect of even more, group is already largest opposition bloc

Compiled by Daily Star staff
The Muslim Brotherhood built up its strength as the largest opposition bloc in parliament in Egyptian elections, winning 13 seats despite a crackdown by the authorities, results showed on Monday.

The group has now won 47 seats, showing the weight of political Islam as Egypt’s strongest opposition force.

It is contesting only one third of the chamber’s 444 elected places and therefore does not pose a threat to the ruling National Democratic Party’s (NDP) control of parliament.

The electoral commission said Monday it had finished counting results for half the 144 seats up for grabs in the nine provinces where voting took place Sunday.

Of those, the ruling National Democratic Party won three seats, Brotherhood candidates won 13 and other independent candidates won nine, it said.

The remaining 52 races will have to go to a run-off, due to be held Saturday, because no candidate got at least half the vote, the commission said.

Voting was held for two seats each in 72 districts. The commission did not say when it expected to finish counting results from the other 36 districts. Mubarak’s NDP won 112 seats in the first round, held on Nov. 9 with a subsequent run-off.

Brotherhood deputy leader Mohammad Habib confirmed that 13 of his candidates had won outright and another 35 would take part in run-offs. In stage two, the Brotherhood had fielded 60 candidates.

"If the elections had taken place in a good way, like the first stage, 35 of those would have won," Habib said.

The group’s strong performance in the first stage irritated the NDP and sparked the crackdown by the authorities "to reduce the number of voters and winners", he said.

Sunday’s polls were marred by widespread violence, which claimed the first victim, the driver of a candidate who independent monitoring groups said was beaten to death by NDP thugs.

The usually peaceful Mediterranean city of Alexandria was the scene of pitched battles between supporters of rival candidates, as clans fought with sticks, knives and guns.

"Who can hit the hardest?" was the headline of Egypt’s leading independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yom, which carried front-page pictures of men and teenagers wielding swords and even a candidate holding a gun.

"The success recorded by the Muslim Brothers during the first phase sparked fear in the regime, which cannot bear the presence of opposition in parliament," Habib told AFP.

"The NDP could see it was going to lose and resorted to violence against the Muslim Brotherhood. This was aimed at preventing people from voting," he added. Some 500 Brotherhood supporters were detained over the weekend.

Thousands of Muslim Brothers took to the streets of Alexandria to celebrate the victories of seven candidates in and around the city. – Agencies