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Egyptian voters lean toward Islamist party

Large numbers of Egyptian voters turned out on Monday and Tuesday, with unofficial results leaning towards the Islamist party.

Egypt election 2011 11 29Enlarge
Egyptian women show their ink-stained fingers at a polling station in Cairo on Nov. 29, 2011. (Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

As the unofficial results from the first two days of Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections roll in, it looks like Islamist candidates hold the lead, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Initial tallies fulfilled most analysts’ expectations that conservative religious politicians would take the election. The tallies showed the Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in the lead, WSJ reported. The FJP is followed by the Nour Party, an unconservative Salafi school of Islam.

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According to the WSJ, an FJP official said the party’s vote-counting forecasts the group to win by as much as 50 percent of the vote and the Nour Party expects to take about 10 to 15 percent of seats in the incoming parliament. Results from Alexandria and seven other regions show that the FJP will be Egypt’s biggest winner as well, the Guardian reported.

Official election results will not be announced until Thursday, before a series of runoff ballots take place next Monday, the Guardian reported. Egypt heads to the polls in three regional phases, with final results for the lower house of parliament to be revealed on Jan. 13 and for the upper house on March 14.

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“We were pleasantly surprised by the voter turnout, which appeared to be very large, and also by the diligence of election officials,” said Robert Becker, political party trainer for the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, a non-profit organization, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. “At the same time, we witnessed a lot of shortcomings, and a number of violations, and these are things we hope can be fixed in the coming rounds of voting.”

Following a week of violent protests leading up to the election, Cairo’s Tahrir Square remained calm on Wednesday as Egyptians awaited the official results, CNN reported. For some Egyptians it is the first time they ever voted. Citizens are partaking in elections that will decide the newest members of the lower house of parliament, which will draft a new constitution, CNN reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/111130/egyptian-voters-lean-toward-islamist-party