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Islamists dominate Egyptian politics

  |   Jan. 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM
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CAIRO, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The strong showing by al-Nour, a conservative Islamist party in Egypt, during post-revolutionary elections comes as a surprise, a political analyst said.

With Egyptians headed to the polls for another round of elections this week, al-Nour has staked its claim to about 20 percent of the seats in the Egyptian Parliament. That trails only the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in Egyptian electoral success.

Manar el-Shorbagy, an associate professor at the American University in Cairo, told Egyptian news agency al-Ahram that al-Nour's second-place finish was something of a surprise.

"Given their lack of experience and radical Islamist agenda, we expected that the Salafists would get only 5 percent," she said.

The Freedom and Justice Party laid claim to about 50 percent of the seats in the Egyptian Parliament. Victory for al-Nour and FJP means the ruling military council will have to make room for political organizations banned under the previous regime.

The voting Tuesday comes against the backdrop of a trial for deposed President Hosni Mubarak, who is facing a tribunal for his role in the deaths of civilian demonstrators during the country's revolution in early 2011.

A public prosecutor argued Monday that Mubarak and members of his Cabinet aren't responsible for the deaths of protesters during the revolution.

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