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Egypt Reports High Vote Turnout, Many Runoff Elections
December 5, 2011

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The turnout in Egypt's first round of parliamentary elections was more than 8 million, or 62 percent of the eligible population living in the 9 of 27 divisions that voted last week. People in the other divisions will vote either in December or in January.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party got the highest percentage of the vote, 36.6, according to the country's election committee. The Salafi al-Nour Party was next in popularity, with 24.4 percent, and the party with the third-highest vote total was the Egyptian Bloc.

That was the party vote. Voters could vote for a political party and for up to two individual candidates. Of the 56 individual seats at stake, only four produced outright winners, with more than 50 percent of the vote totals. The election committee has scheduled runoff elections between the top vote-getters of the other races. 

Of the total 498 seats in parliament, a full two-thirds are slated for party list candidates, with the rest being elected individually. 

Meanwhile, the ruling generals, despite their pledge to hand over power to a civilian government by July 2012, reiterated their promise to retain powers to appoint or remove the Cabinet even after the new parliament is elected and in place. And, the newly appointed interim prime minister, Kamal al-Ganzouri, announced a further delay in the appointment of an interim government, until the end of the runoff elections.

The subject of religion is ever-present in Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country. In neighboring countries, the Muslim Brotherhood actively seeks to make Islam the state religion; so far, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has made known no such ambition and is, in fact, known as a more moderate group. Some tenants of the Salafi platform are to ban women and Christians from top government posts.



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