Where Are You Now, Condi?

Where Are You Now, Condi?
The score stands at NDP 195 seats in Parliament, Brotherhood-backed independents 74 after the first two rounds of balloting in PA elections

A fter two rounds of voting in November’s Parliamentary elections, independent candidates backed by the banned-but-tolerated Muslim Brotherhood won an unprecedented 74 seats, quintupling the group’s showing in the 2000 Parliamentary contest and setting themselves up to become the largest opposition bloc in the People’s Assembly as they unseated both NDP incumbents and opposition favorites.

Analysts suggested the Brotherhood’s success stemmed from its organizational ability and a more hands-off approach taken by police and State Security forces that allowed for a remarkably non-violent polling process.

In the first phase of voting in governorates including Cairo, 114 of the governing NDP’s 164 candidates beat their opponents, while 42 out of 51 Brotherhood-supported candidates won seats. By the end of the runoffs in districts including Alexandria and Suez, the NDP had upped its tally to 195 seats against Al-Ikhwan’s 74.

Ministers and high-level government officials were the first NDP members to secure seats, including Kamal El-Shazly (Minister for the People’s Assembly Affairs), Housing Minister Mohammed Ibrahim Soleiman, Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali, PA Speaker Fathi Sorour, and Presidential Chief of Staff Zakaria Azmi. In Damanhour, MP Mostafa El-Fiqqi bested prominent Brother Gamal Heshmat.

The second round, however, resulted in the losses of high-level NDP players such as former Minister of Agriculture and current Deputy Party Leader Youssef Wali.

Recognized opposition parties lost ground in both rounds despite banding together to form a “united front” as Al-Tagammuah leader Khaled Mohieddin (the “Red Major” of the Revolutionary Command Council and uncle of Minster of Investment Mahmoud Mohieddin) and firebrand MP Badri Farghali went down to defeat.

In an unexpected upset, Al-Ghad’s Ayman Nour, who was runner up to President Hosni Mubarak in this fall’s presidential elections, lost his home district of Bab El-Sharqia to the NDP’s Yehia Wahdan.

The jam maker Vitrac’s head, Mounir Fakry Abdel Nour, head of Al-Wafd’s parliamentary caucus in the last PA, lost to the NDP’s Sherine Abdel Aziz.

Upper Egyptian and Sinai governorates are scheduled to wrap up voting and any necessary runoff elections by December 7 so that the new People’s Assembly can convene on December 13.