The March Toward Sharia Law Continues In Egypt

The Associated Press is reporting today that Islamists have received 70 percent of the seats determined so far in the second stage of the Egyptian elections. The Muslim Brotherhood won about 86 of the 180 seats in this round–about 47 percent. The Al-Nour Party (the Salafists) won about 20 percent. The seculalrists that led the rebellion against Hosni Mubarak won less than 10 percent of the seats.

The article reports on a part of the power struggle currently going on in Egypt:

The election is the first since Mubarak’s Feb. 11 ouster and is the freest in Egypt’s modern history. The 498-seat People’s Assembly, the parliament’s lower house, will be tasked, in theory, with forming a 100-member assembly to draft a new constitution.

But its actual role remains unclear. The military council that has ruled since Mubarak’s fall says the parliament will not be representative of all of Egypt, and should not have sole power over the drafting of the constitution. Last week, the military appointed a 30-member council to oversee the process.

The military has traditionally held a lot of power in Egypt. It looks as if they are not in a hurry to give up that power. The military in the past has been more secular than the two parties that won the majority of votes so far. It will be interesting to see how this eventually works out. Frankly, my money is on the Muslim Brotherhood–they have been planning to implement Sharia Law in Egypt for a long time, and I don’t see them giving up now.

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The Numbers In The Egyptian Election

The Egyptian Gazette reported today on the results of the recent elections in Egypt. The party of the Muslim Brotherhood (the Freedom and Justice Party) won 36.62 percent of the vote. The Salafist Al-Nur party (which advocates an Islamist government similar to Saudi Arabia) won 24.36 percent of the vote.

Both of these political parties have as their aim the establishment of an Islamist caliphate in the Middle East. Although the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) markets itself as moderate–it’s goals are not.

This election is the first step of a three-step process.

The article reports:

Voting on Monday and Tuesday was only the opening phase of an election for a new lower house of parliament that is taking place in three stages, but the returns reveal the main political trends now shaping Egypt.

Only one third of districts have voted. The rest of the country will go the polls in a further two stages later this month and in January.  
Voters were required to pass three votes: two for individual candidates and one for a party or coalition.
The military took over the government when Mubarak stepped down and are currently in control of the interim government. It is expected that there will be a power struggle between the current military government and the political parties that won victories in this election.
The article reports:
The first test will be over the formation of a new caretaker government, with the Brotherhood insisting on the right to form a cabinet.
The second struggle with be over a new constitution next year and the relative powers given to parliament, a new president to be elected by next June, and the army.
The military helped maintain Egypt as a secular country. If their power is diminished as the new government forms, there is a strong possibility that Egypt will become more like Saudi Arabia. There have been a significant number of attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians since the revolution in Egypt, and there will be less freedom of religion in Egypt as the Salafist Al-Nur party and the Freedom and Justice Party consolidate their power. This is not good news either for Israel (both parties are strongly anti-Israel) or for freedom of religion around the world.
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