News Update: December 1, 2011

Freedom and Justice Party supporter

Early election results indicated that Islamist parties are on track to win a dominant majority in the next People’s Assembly. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) appears to have won 40 percent of the vote, while Salafis may have claimed up to 25 percent of the vote, giving the two groups combined control of nearly 65 percent of the seats.


1) 23 parties and movements including the April 6 Youth Movement and Maspero Coalition are backing a rally in Tahrir Square planned for December 2 to honor the victims of recent clashes. The presidential campaigns of Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahi announced their participation in the demonstration.  [al-Ahram, English, 12/1/2011] [al-Shorouk, Arabic, 12/1/2011]


2) The official announcement of final election results has been postponed until December 2, due to delays in the counting of ballots. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 12/1/2011]

3) Early election results indicated that Islamist parties are on track to win a dominant majority in the next People’s Assembly. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) appears to have won 40 percent of the vote, while Salafis may have claimed up to 25 percent of the vote, giving the two groups combined control of nearly 65 percent of the seats. (The precise allocation of seats will not be determined until after the third round of voting in January 2012). Islamist candidates performed surprisingly well in urban voting districts like Cairo and Alexandria, where liberal political forces have their strongest constituencies, suggesting that the FJP and Salafi Nour Parties could make an even stronger showing in subsequent rounds of voting in some of the more rural, conservative districts viewed as Islamist strongholds. [New York Times, English, 12/1/2011] [al-Ahram, English, 12/1/2011]

4) The National Democratic Institute’s preliminary statement on the first round of elections was a largely positive assessment: “Defying expectations, large numbers of voters and two largely peaceful days of balloting provided a promising beginning to a three round voting process and gave rise to the possibility of an election that reflects the will of the people.”  However, the report did note several irregularities, including illegal campaigning on the election days and delayed opening of polling stations, and made a number of recommendations for the second round, including clarified procedures for ballot counting; procedural instructions for the sealing and storage of ballot boxes; and considering the establishment of a 30-meter “campaign-free perimeter” around polling stations. [NDI, English, 11/30/2011]

5) Voters will return to the polls on Monday, December 5 for a run-off round to determine results for contests in which no candidate won 50 percent of the vote. Some of the run-off races will see intense competition between Islamist and liberal candidates. The FJP and Salafi Nour Party are reportedly using religious propaganda in Nasser City to back the Islamist candidate Mohamed Yousry against Mostafa al-Nagar, a member of the centrist Adl Party running as part of the liberal-oriented Egyptian Bloc. The Islamist parties are distributing leaflets describing al-Nagar as “the Church’s candidate.” [al-Youm al-Saba’a, Arabic, 12/1/2011]

6) Coordinator of the FJP-led Democratic Alliance, Wahid Abdel Meguid, estimated that the Alliance won 41 percent of the parliamentary seats after the first round and projected that the proportion will increase to 45 percent after the third round of voting in January. Meguid said he was surprised by the success of the Salafi Nour Party, which won at least 20 percent of the seats, exceeding the expectations of its own party leaders, who predicted winning only 10-15 percent. Meguid ruled out future cooperation with the Nour Party for individual seats. [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 12/1/2011]


7) On December 1, the Freedom and Justice Party appeared to back down from Mohamed Morsi’s earlier statement insisting that the next parliamentary majority should be empowered to form a coalition government. In an official statement, the FJP said it is still “too early” to discuss the next parliament and said that the first priority for now should be promoting “cooperation between all forces and helping the country move from a transitional stage toward the establishment of new institutions.” The statement added, “The composition of parliament and the parliamentary alliances is tied to the final results of the third stage (of elections) which will reveal a balanced parliament that reflects all segments of society.” [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 12/1/2011]

8) Mohamed Saad Katatny, head of the Brotherhood’s FJP, said that the next parliament will have the task of forming a government and drafting Egypt’s new constitution. “The committee to formulate the constitution should be representative of all political trends and include men of religion,” Katatny said, adding that the committee “cannot be tied to the parliamentary majority.” [al-Shorouk, Arabic, 11/30/2011]

9) Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri has concluded a series of meetings with candidates for ministerial portfolios and is expected to announce the members of the new cabinet on the evening of December 1. Finance Minister Hazem al-Beblawi said he has not yet been asked to stay on in the new cabinet. Adel Abdel Hamid, former head of the Court of Cassation, is being considered for the post of minister of justice; Galam al-Araby is a candidate for minister of education; and Major General Mohamed is a candidate for interior minister. In recent months, some protest groups have demanded that a civilian be appointed lead the Interior Ministry. [al-Shorouk, Arabic, 12/1/2011] [The Daily News Egypt, English, 11/30/2011] [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 12/1/2011]

10) Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri announced that he will appoint a civilian minister of civil aviation, after pilots threatened to close Egyptian airspace if Ganzouri chose a military official for the post. In addition, Ganzouri promised to create a Ministry of Revolution’s Martyrs Affairs. Ganzouri is expected to retain between five and seven ministers from Sharaf’s cabinet, and several prominent figures have reportedly declined appointments in the new government, including journalists Adel Hammouda and Magdy al-Galad, who were being considered for the post of Information Minister. [al-Ahram, English, 12/1/2011]


11) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement on December 1 congratulating Egyptians on “a peaceful, successful start to their election process.” “The American people will continue to stand by the people of Egypt as they move toward a democratically elected civilian government that respects universal human rights and will meet their aspirations for dignity, freedom, and a better life,” Clinton said. [State Department, English, 12/1/2011]


12) A military official, Mahmoud Nasr, estimated that Egypt’s foreign reserves will plummet by a third to US $15 billion by the end of January. Nasr acknowledged that one of the solutions to the growing deficit would be “reviewing subsidies, particularly petrol subsidies.” At the same time, the government continues to resist international assistance. “We prefer not to borrow money from abroad. The loans come with strings attached that undermine state sovereignty,” Nasr said. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 12/1/2011]

Photo Credit: Reuters

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