Muslim Brotherhood makes gains in Egyptian elections

BEHEIRA, Egypt — In a stunning result, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood captured at least 25 more seats in Egypt’s legislature yesterday, despite cordons of police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets in what appeared to be a determined government effort to block opposition voters and clamp off building momentum by the Islamic-based organization.

Early Interior Ministry figures showed the banned but tolerated Brotherhood increasing its share in the legislature to at least 72 seats, a more than fourfold jump over its representation in the outgoing parliament – with a third and final stage of voting still to go Dec. 1, with a runoff likely six days after that.

The outcome, if it becomes final, would push the Brotherhood theoretically past the number of seats needed under new constitutional rules to nominate a presidential candidate in 2011.

Armed backers of both Islamist and secular politicians engaged in fierce clashes that – combined with police action – severely curbed turnout and scarred an election that was seen as a test of Egypt’s pledge to open its authoritarian political system.

Non-government organizations and judges monitoring the polls complained security forces blocked thousands of the 10 million eligible voters from entering polling stations in nine provinces where 122 seats were in play after no candidate garnered more than one-half of the vote in the second round of polling six days ago.

Three prominent figures from President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic party – Ahmed Abu Zeid, El-Sayed Rashed and Mohammed Abdellah, the former head of the legislature’s foreign affairs committee and president of Alexandria University – were among those turned out of the 454-seat People’s Assembly, where the NDP had held an 80% majority.

Before Saturday’s vote the Brotherhood – Egypt’s largest Islamist group – had racked up 47 of 186 decided seats. Mubarak’s NDP had won 122 seats and 17 went to other candidates in voting that began Nov. 9.

While there was no chance the Brotherhood would unseat the NDP, which with its allies held 388 of 454 seats in the previous People’s Assembly, the Brotherhood showing was a stunning outcome for an organization that previously held only 15 seats, with 41 occupied by other parties. Mubarak appointees fill 10 seats.

The president, meanwhile, unexpectedly cancelled plans to attend an EU-sponsored summit today in Barcelona, Spain.

Egypt legislative elections: Muslim Brotherhood gets stronger

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has further boosted its strength in parliament, winning 28 seats on Saturday in legislative elections despite restrictions on voting, the opposition movement announced Sunday.


Brotherhood deputy leader Mohamed Habib told Reuters the wins indicated the strength of his movement.


The movement, which is officially outlawed, has now gained 75 seats in the parliament with just less than a third of the places still to be contested. The Brotherhood had 15 seats in the outgoing parliament. The preliminary Interior Ministry figures released early Sunday showed the Brotherhood increased its share in parliament to at least 72 seats.

According to Habib, the movement will field 49 candidates in the third and final round of voting which starts on Dec. 1.


Despite the Brotherhood’s impressive wins, the ruling National Democratic Party had claimed 122 seats going into the Saturday runoff and was sure to maintain control of the 454-member chamber.