The Muslim Brotherhood claims victory in Egypt

Dec. 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM
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CAIRO, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The Muslim Brotherhood claimed its political party won the majority of runoffs in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary election.

Meanwhile, representatives of several political parties and organizations said Wednesday they will move their demonstrations from Tahrir Square to outside a government building to protest the appointment of Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri, saying he doesn't represent them, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Al-Masry al-Youm reported Ganzouri's cabinet, sworn in Wednesday, includes 12 ministers from former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's cabinet, including ministers of foreign affairs, international cooperation, industry, military production and petroleum.

Ganzouri, 78, who was brought out of retirement to lead a interim government two weeks ago, named as the new interior minister Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim. Ibrahim is seen as the architect of the forced evacuation of Sudanese refugees protesting in Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Mohandiseen in December 2005, which resulted in the deaths of 25 people, including several children. The refugees had been protesting outside the offices of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to demand the right to asylum in European countries.

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Anis, who had headed the Morale Affairs Department of the armed forces, became the new minister of information, which critics called an effort by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to maintain control of the media.

Government officials called the new cabinet a "national salvation government," a term that had originally been used to refer to the transitional civilian government proposed by pro-democracy activists and political figures who sought to end military rule during clashes in and around Tahir Square late last month. The civilian government, as conceived, likely would have taken on executive powers of government now held by the military council, al-Masry al-Youm said.

But the military rejected the civilian government, instead accepting the resignation of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and replacing him with Ganzouri. Pro-democracy activists continue to demand an end to military rule.

Official election results aren't expected until Thursday, but the Freedom and Justice Party said it had won 36 of the 56 seats available in the first round of voting since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February, the BBC reported.

Early polling indicated the group won nearly 37 percent in runoffs Monday and Tuesday. Four seats were won outright in last week's voting, leaving 52 to be decided.

Voting in the remaining two-thirds of electoral districts will occur later this month and in January.

Muslim Brotherhood official Mohammed Badie said the Freedom and Justice Party would form a coalition if it won the elections.

"We will not rule Egypt alone. Parliament will include all the colors of the rainbow that must agree on one direction, one goal," he said during an interview with al-Mehwar, a private television station.

The ultra-conservative Salafist al-Nour Party was second with 24 percent of the vote, followed by the secular Egyptian Bloc with 13.4 percent, the liberal Wafd Party with 7.1 percent, the moderate Islamist Wasat Party with 4.3 percent and the Revolution Continues, a group formed by youth activists who helped drive out Mubarak, with 3.5 percent, preliminary results indicated.

During a news conference Tuesday, Ganzouri, prime minister from 1996 to 1999 under Mubarak, called on political parties and forces to unite.

The 20-member Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled Egypt since Mubarak's ouster, promised to decree head-of-state powers to Ganzouri "except those concerning the judiciary and armed forces," Ganzouri told a news conference Tuesday night.

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