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Final results confirms Islamists winners in Egypt’s elections

The political wing of Egypt’s most historic Islamist party won by far the largest number of seats in the first post-revolutionary parliament, final results confirmed Saturday, and is now poised to play a dominant role in the drafting of a new constitution.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party took 47 percent of seats in the lower house of parliament, and the ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party won 25 percent of the elected seats.

The Brotherhood was banned under former president Hosni Mubarak but has emerged as a major force on the political scene since the uprising last year. The group’s Freedom and Justice Party has vowed that all political factions will play a major role in parliament, which is tasked with appointing a body to write the new constitution.

The secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party, Mohammed Saad Katatny, resigned his party position in anticipation of his role as parliament speaker.

Members of parliament say they expect to have full legislative powers, although the country’s ruling generals who assumed power Feb. 11 have made it clear they want to influence the constitution-writing process. That document will lay out the new parliament’s powers.

Egypt used a complicated voting system in which voters cast their ballots in three phases over about six weeks. Voters were asked to choose a party or bloc and individual candidates. A third of the seats will be filled by people who ran as individuals, and two-thirds are from winning parties or coalitions.

No women won individual seats; only about 1 percent of the body will be female.

The head of the ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, exercised his executive power to appoint the final 10 members of the 508-seat chamber. His selections included three women and five Coptic Christians.

Legislators are expected to choose their speaker and deputies when the lower house convenes for the first time Monday.

Some legislators expressed their intent to end military rule. Many activists say the country’s military rulers have botched the transitional period and accuse them of human rights abuses that rival those committed under Mubarak.

“It’s not close to over and it won’t be easy, but with pressure and popular insistence it will end,” said Mostafa Mizar, from the Justice Party, which won two seats.

The head of the judicial electoral commission, Abdel Moez Ibrahim, congratulated the winners Saturday but warned that “the responsibility under the circumstances that our country is going through needs a lot of work and little talk from you.”

The ruling generals have promised that presidential election will take place no later than the end of June.

Also Saturday, Tantawi pardoned 1,959 people convicted by the military court since Mubarak was ousted, including prominent blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad. Nabil was sentenced to three years in jail for insulting the military, and activists point to his case as an example of the generals’ heavy-handed response to their critics.

More than 12,000 civilians have been convicted in hasty military trials since the military assumed power.

Special correspondent Ingy Hassieb contributed to this report.

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