Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood might get a majority of seats

The third and final round of Egypt's parliamentary elections have started today.

There have been some reports of illegal campaign activities at some polling places; one judge closed two polling stations because of violations by the Muslim Brotherhood FJP party.

After the first two rounds of voting, according to Wikipedia, the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over 48% of the parliamentary seats even though it won only 36.6% of the votes. This seems to be because of the runoff system, where the top two candidates - usually FJP and the Salafist Nour parties - go head to head.

Some areas where the voting is being held today are considered Islamist strongholds, like the North Sinai. It is possible that the Muslim Brotherhood will end up with an absolute majority of seats in Parliament, meaning that they will not have to rely on a coalition to rule and considerably weakening the role of any partners they choose to ally with.

According to The New York Times, the exact formula for allotting seats has not yet been determined by the military rulers of Egypt so things are a bit up in the air. They also quote MB leadership saying that they doubt that they will gain  over 50% of the seats.

The Muslim Brotherhood has stated that they have not made any deals with any potential coalition partners. The Salafists said that they will refuse to serve in a coalition with the liberal parties in parliament.

Interestingly, in the second round of voting, the liberal Egyptian Bloc's share of the vote plummeted from 13.4% to 7%. The second liberal party, Al Wafd, went up a little from 7.1% to 9.6%, but altogether things are looking even worse for the liberals than they did in the initial round.