Islamist parties captured an overwhelming majority of votes in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, setting up a power struggle with the much weaker liberals behind the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak 10 months ago. Official results released today show that, as indicated by preliminary results,the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party garnered 36.6% of the 9.7 million valid ballots cast for party lists. The Nour Party, a more hard-line Islamist group that wants to impose strict Islamic law, captured 24.4%.
The tallies offer only a partial indication of how the new parliament will look. There are still two more rounds of voting in 18 of the country's 27 provinces over the coming month and runoff elections tomorrow and Tuesday to determine almost all of the seats allocated for individuals in the first round. But the grip of the Islamists over the next parliament appears set, particularly considering their popularity in provinces voting in the next rounds. The strong Islamist showing worries liberal parties, and even some religious parties, who fear the two groups will work to push a religious agenda. The Brotherhood, however, has said it will not seek an alliance with the more radical Nour party. (Read more Egypt stories.)