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Media, Twitter illuminate Islamist gains in Egypt

By Alice Fordham,

CAIRO — Slowly coming to light in local media and dissected on Twitter by eager followers of Egypt’s electoral process, figures emerged Saturday that offered details of the success of Islamist parties in the first phase of parliamentary elections last week.

According to the High Judicial Elections Commission in Cairo, the vote produced only four clear winners out of 56 races for individual lower house seats. Run-off polls will be held for the remaining seats starting Monday.

Early figures distributed by the commission Friday and analyzed since in local media and on online sites show that in more than 20 cases, those run-offs will be between members of the ultraconservative Islamist Nour party and the moderate Islamist Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm.

The two groups were clearly ahead of the scattered liberal parties, independent candidates and remnants of the National Democratic Party that held sway under former president Hosni Mubarak.

On Saturday, Egyptian analyst Mostafa al-Moshy published charts on Twitter, based on the official figures as well as unofficial data published in local media, showing that Islamists had received the most votes in all but one of the nine provinces polled, a total of about two-thirds of the vote.

Only 33 non-Islamist candidates appear likely to compete in the run-offs, versus a total of 67 from the Brotherhood’s party and the Nour Party, which is composed of very religious Salafist Muslims. The numbers could change slightly as concerns over voting irregularities in some areas are resolved.

Two-thirds of seats are allocated according to a party list system, rather than votes for individual candidates, and according to Egyptian news media, early results also showed the Muslim Brotherhood’s party in the lead in almost all districts in that category.

There will be two more rounds of voting for the lower house in the next month, polling the remaining 18 provinces.

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