Islamists make big gains in Egypt's first-round voting
Lists of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Egypt's influential Muslim Brotherhood, come out on top in the first round of the country's parliamentary elections, High Election Commission chief Abdel Moaez Ibrahim said Wednesday evening, DPA reported.
Freedom and Justice was at 36.5 per cent of the vote.
Coming second were the lists of al-Nour, an ultra-conservative Salafist party, with 24.3 per cent, Ibrahim said. The Egyptian Bloc, a liberal alliance, trailed in third place with 13.3 per cent, according to official results.
The remaining percentage is shared by a dozen political parties, including al-Wafd, Egypt's oldest party.
Two-thirds of Egypt's new parliament's 498 seats are to go to party lists, while the remaining third are earmarked for individuals.
The Islamists running as single candidates also made big gains in the first round of the staggered elections, official results showed.
Candidates belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists have won 42 out of 54 seats up for grabs in the first round and its runoff.
Voter turnout in the runoff, held Monday and Tuesday, was officially estimated at 39 per cent, down from 60 per cent in the first round one week earlier.
Voting was suspended in the electoral district of al-Sahel in northern Cairo in compliance with a court ruling, due to irregularities in balloting and vote counting, Ibrahim said Wednesday. "Campaigning on religious basis is banned, and violators will be referred to the Supreme Administrative Council to be disqualified," he told reporters.
Ibrahim promised that irregularities including illegal canvassing and a shortage of electoral logistics will be eliminated in the final two stages of the election, scheduled for December 14 and January 3.
The polls are Egypt's first since president Hosny Mubarak was toppled in a popular revolt in February.