THE FUTURE FOR EGYPT FOLLOWING THE ELECTIONS AND THE BREAKTHROUGH OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

Dimitri DELALIEU

A little less than three months after presidential elections returned Hosni Mubarak to power (see ESISC note of 12.9.05) parliamentary elections ended in unprecedented violence.
The breath of democracy both Egyptians and the international community had hoped to feel hardly lasted any time. The regime of President Mubarak, who saw is power seriously eroded by the extraordinary advance of the Muslim Brotherhood, had no hesitation in turning to those totalitarian methods Egypt has sadly become used to in order to crush opposition: closing polling stations,
mass arrests, intimidation and demonstrations which left at least 12 people dead and hundreds injured.
But the elections, in spite of an extremely feeble turnout of 25%, are undoubtedly a turning point in the country’s fortunes. The result for the Muslim Brotherhood –which becomes the leading opposition party and gains six times as many seats as before, with 88 seats out of a total of 444, or one Islamist out of every five deputies – is a sign of a profound change in the national political
landscape.
But the success of the Islamists is more a result of the accumulation of opposition votes than any ideological rallying by the people to radical Islam – although the rise in power of the Brotherhood is a cause for worry.

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