Egyptian Islamists lead liberals in second round election

Egyptian Islamist parties were leading liberals in the second round of a parliamentary election, according to an initial count a day after the polls closed, state media reported on Friday.

The Islamists, who won more than two-thirds of the vote in the first round, are projected to win all three stages of the country’s first elections since a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The official al-Ahram newspaper reported a close race between the two main Islamist parties, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and ultraconservative Salafi al-Nur.

The FJP said on its website that it was ahead in the southern province of Sohag and Giza province, which includes a large part of the capital.

It said al-Nur was ahead in the port city of Suez, with 45% of the vote to the FJP’s 25%.

The main liberal coalition, the Egyptian Bloc, has so far appeared to have garnered even fewer votes than it did in the first round, when it won about 13%, the newspaper reported.

The FJP, which was founded by the Brotherhood after Mubarak’s ouster, had won more than 36% of the vote in the first round, followed by al-Nur’s 24%.

In the country’s complex electoral system, voters cast ballots for party lists, which will compose two-thirds of parliament, and direct votes for individual candidates for the remaining third. — Sapa-AFP

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