Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood put the kibosh on speculation that its Freedom and Justice Party would team up with the ultraconservative Salafi movement’s Al Nour party to dominate Egypt’s new parliament. The Freedom and Justice party issued a statement yesterday denying an “alleged alliance” that would form an “Islamist government.” In another statement, it said the elections would “most likely lead to a balanced parliament that reflects the various components of the Egyptian public,” the New York Times reports.
The Brotherhood has, as expected, been the big unofficial winner in the elections, with 40% of the vote, but the Salafis surprised observers with a strong 25% showing. Whereas the Brotherhood stresses tolerance and pluralism, the Salafis are hard-liners, advocating Islamic rules on banking, alcohol, women’s dress, and entertainment. Many refuse to even shake hands with women, and while the law requires they nominate at least one woman on each candidate list, these women are always listed last.