Islamic Spring… Muslim Brotherhood Takes Lead in Egyptian Elections

An Egyptian woman stands in front of a campaign banner in Arabic that reads, “The Freedom and Justice party,” on the second day of parliamentary elections in Alexandria, Egypt, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. Polls opened Tuesday for a second day of voting in Egypt’s landmark parliamentary elections, the first since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in a popular uprising earlier this year. (AP/Tarek Fawzy)

The Muslim Brotherhood Islamist group took the lead in the first stage of the Egyptian elections held this week.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood has claimed the lead in the first stage of the country’s first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak’s fall.

The movement’s Freedom and Justice Party said initial results showed its coalition ahead, followed by parties belonging to the hardline Islamist Salafi movements, then a coalition of secular movements in third.

On Monday and Tuesday, millions filed into polling stations in the capital Cairo and second city Alexandria as Egyptians embraced new freedoms won by the toppling of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February.

“The people have passed the democracy test,” headlined the independent newspaper Al-Shorouk on Tuesday, while the interim ruling military leaders expressed their “happiness” at proceedings.

“The election has been a huge success,” declared Ahmed Nashaat, a 29-year-old member of the leading Islamist party the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as night fell in Cairo at the end of the voting.

Turnout had been high, he said, security well controlled by the army and police, while there was “no vote rigging worth mentioning” – a stark contrast with the 30-year Mubarak era when abuses were widespread.

Analysts warned, however, that the country faced huge challenges ahead in its long, complicated and uncertain transition to democracy that is scheduled to finish only in June next year under the current timetable.

This follows the news that the Islamist party just won the elections in moderate Morocco.

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