CAIRO – Partial results for Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections reveal Islamist parties leading with 65 percent of the party-list votes, a stronger than expected showing that puts liberal groups on the defensive, Voice of America said. The figures released Sunday by Egypt’s High Election Commission put the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party in front with 36.6 percent of the ballots cast, followed by the hardline Salafist Nour party with 24.4 percent. The moderate Islamist Wasat party took 4.3 percent. The liberal Egyptian Bloc garnered 13.4 percent, putting that coalition of parties in third place.
This past week’s voting will determine the membership for about 30 percent of the 498-seat lower house. Egyptians will return to the polls Monday for 52 runoff votes for individual candidates.
The man appointed by military rulers to lead a new Cabinet, Kamal al-Ganzouri, says he will delay announcing ministers until Wednesday because ballot counting is taking longer than expected. After the process is completed for the lower house, voting for parliament’s upper house will begin. The balloting is Egypt’s first voting since former president Hosni Mubarak resigned in February.
Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed deep concern over the initial success of Islamist parties.