4 Dec 2011

Egypt's Islamist parties on course for majority

12:15 pm on 4 December 2011

Latest results from the Egyptian election indicate that Islamist parties are likely to have a strong majority in the new parliament.

The political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party, appears to be on course to win more than half the seats in the lower house.

The ultra-conservative Salafist al-Nour Party is running second, followed closely by the Egyptian Bloc coalition of liberal parties.

However, most candidates will have to go through to two further rounds of voting over the next six weeks.

The voting covered nine out of 27 provinces, which will elect about 30% of the 498-seat house. Two further rounds are scheduled over the next six weeks; the upper house will then be elected in another three stages.

Salafists want to impose full shariah law

The BBC's correspondent in Cairo says the Muslim Brotherhood have been keen to stress they are moderate and pragmatic.

By contrast, the Salafists have made no attempt to soften their uncompromising views. They want to ban alcohol, segregate men and women and impose full shariah law, and they are openly contemptuous of democracy.

They want a return to the way Islam was practised during the time of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, in the seventh Century.

The turnout in the first election since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in February was 62%.