Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood achieves major gains in parliamentary elections
Thursday, November 17,2005 00:00
By Xinhua

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood achieves major gains in parliamentary elections

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s de facto largest opposition group, has achieved major gains in the first phase of the three-stage legislative elections officials said on Wednesday.

Out of the 133 parliamentary seats up for grabs in Tuesday’s run-offs, candidates who ran as independents but were supported by the Muslim Brotherhood won 30 seats, the officials said.

Initial results showed that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), led by President Hosni Mubarak, reasserted its role as the largest political party in the country by winning 50 seats in Tuesday’s run-offs.

Another 45 seats went to independent candidates, most of whom were NDP renegades who failed to appear on the party-sanctioned candidates list but decided to run as independents.

The remaining eight seats went to other political parties and groups.

Egypt’s High Elections Commission, the supreme body overseeing the legislative electoral process, is expected to announce the final results later Wednesday. Initial results are likely to be modified as counting continued.

The Muslim Brotherhood altogether won 34 seats out of 164 up for grabs in the first phase of the parliamentary elections, including four secured during the first round of voting.

During the first round, the NDP secured 26 seats out of 31 seats decided, and an independent candidate won one.

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, was outlawed as Egypt’s constitution banned political parties based on religion, but the group renounced violence decades ago and has been largely tolerated by the government.

Its members, running as independents in the 2000 parliamentary elections, won 17 seats, forming the largest single opposition bloc in the parliament.

The first phase of Egypt’s three-stage parliamentary election kicked off last Wednesday in 82 constituencies across eight governorates, including Cairo.

The second and third stages will be held on Nov. 20 and Dec. 1 respectively. Any run-offs, if necessary, will be held six days after each round of voting.