Morning Egyptian Elections Roundup: FJP at 40%?

A few selections while we await the results — nothing official has been said yet, but parties are expected to make statements this afternoon that will give an indication, and incoming reports from various governorates thus far tend to confirm the expected: the FJP as first party, Salafists often as second in the countryside. The FJP appears to be making the 40% line which was at the high end of most predictions. And this is with Cairo, Alexandria and Red Sea governorates, which could be predicted to be among the more liberal parts of Egypt.

Egypt’s military takes credit for election turnout | Firstpost:

“When we plan, we execute and, at the end, we succeed,” Maj Gen Ismail Etman, a member of the ruling military council, said in a television interview. He compared the elections to one of the Egyptian military’s proudest moments — when they battled Israeli forces across the Suez Canal in 1973.

“The armed forces pulled off this election like they pulled off the crossing in 1973,” he said.

I won't comment so as not to hurt anyone's patriotic sensibilities.

SCAF expects 70% election turnout | Al-Masry Al-Youm:

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) expected the turnout of the first phase of parliamentary elections to reach 70 percent of eligible voters, and expressed hope it would reach 80 percent after extending elections for an extra day.

Preliminary reports said turnout in the Red Sea Governorate reached 50 percent. In Fayoum, it reached 60 percent; in Luxor, 55 percent; in Port Said, 65 percent; in Kafr al-Sheikh, 50 percent; in Alexandria, 55 percent; in Assiut, 60 percent and in Damietta, 65 percent.

BREAKING: Cairo election turnout might be as high as 80 per cent: Cairo deputy governor statement:

Cairo's deputy governor has come out and stated that voter turnout in the capital “might exceed 80 per cent” of those eligible to vote. With Cairo the most populated governorate in the country this says a lot about where these elections stand compared to those of recent past.

Egypt's Brotherhood leading in vote count - source | Reuters

"The lists for the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) are in the lead in most of the governorates of the first round," said a source in the FJP, the Brotherhood's party, who declined to be named.

He told Reuters the FJP-led list, which also includes several smaller parties, was leading with about 40 percent of the votes.

On the model the MB would follow — this from the organizationally powerful, politically more conservative, part of the MB's old guard: Ghozlan was the main opponent to Beltagi's call last week to support the Tahrir protests (at Spiegel):

Many have suggested that the Muslim Brotherhood might seek to emulate the Justice and Development party of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which combines Islamist leanings with a market economy -- a model prized in many Muslim countries in North Africa.

But Mahmoud Ghoslan, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that they aren't interested. "No, we don't want the Turkish model," Ghoslan said. "In Turkey, women may go to university without a headscarf. They have adultery and homosexuality. We will not allow that in Egypt. Egypt is a Muslim country. The Sharia, the Muslim legal framework, must be the foundation for everything."

Sharia, though, isn't enough of a party platform -- and the Muslim Brotherhood have yet to provide convincing answers to questions as to how they plan to stabilize the country. Instead of explaining how his group intends to revive Egypt's stalled economy, Ghoslan complains about Western prejudice. "Everyone says that we are hardliners. But we are wise, even-tempered and moderate. Of the nine members of our leadership council, five of them received their Ph.D. in the US. We are open-minded," Ghoslan says.

Despite follow-up questions, Ghoslan declines to provide details. Egypt isn't Iran, he insists, and Hamas is only an offshoot of the Brotherhood -- and not one they want to emulate. "We will develop our own model," he says.

And the MB is also — as I predicted on this site many times (see here for example)— now moving to leverage the elections to pressure SCAF on the next government. From the NYT:

In an interview, Essam el-Erian, a leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, argued that the unexpectedly high turnout for the parliamentary elections indicated a popular demand for more civilian control.

Although a top general on the ruling military council said as recently as last weekend that the council would continue to choose the prime minister even after Parliament was formed, Mr. Erian argued that the turnout showed that voters wanted the new Parliament’s majority, and not the generals, to have that power, just as in other parliamentary systems.

“Millions of Egyptians voted because they wanted a strong, democratic Parliament,” Mr. Erian said.
“Any government has to have a vote of confidence from the Parliament,” he added. “That is a basic principle, even if it is not written into the law.”

His assertion is an early signal that the Brotherhood intends to use the seats it may gain in Parliament to push to limit military rule, even though it declined to join its liberal rivals in several days of street protests last week aimed at the same goal.

And from the Obama administration:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration offered tempered praise this week as millions of Egyptians cast ballots in an election likely to be the country's freest and fairest ever — a vote the U.S. insisted go forward despite objections by pro-democracy street protesters.

The administration wanted timely elections even though they risked leaving the U.S. with less influence and fewer friends in the Middle East.

After two days of largely peaceful voting marked by high turnouts, U.S. spokesmen termed Egypt's first vote since Hosni Mubarak's ouster a success. They focused on the openness of the parliamentary election and not on the Islamic hardliners who may end up the big winners — or what that might mean for U.S. policy or U.S. ally Israel.

"As much as it's important to protest in Tahrir Square, the real future — the democratic future — of Egypt will be decided in the ballot box," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. "The Egyptian people are now exercising their democratic right in a peaceful fashion that will lead to real democratic change in the long term for Egypt. That's a very good thing."

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