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BlackFacts Details

Egypt

Despite the political turmoil and uncertainty, millions of Egyptians voted in the first round of parliamentary elections on Nov. 28, 2011. The Muslim Brotherhood fared better than expected, winning about 40% of the vote. Even more of a shock was the second place finish of the ultraconservative Islamist Salafists, who took about 25%. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, said it did not plan to form a coalition with the Salafis—an apparent attempt to calm fears that it would assemble an Islamist government. In fact, it said that it planned to form a unity government with secularists and would respect the rights of women and religious minorities.

The second round of parliamentary elections in mid-December were marred by violence. Protesters demonstrating against military rule were beat up and troops assaulted civilians who assembled outside parliament and judges who were enlisted to supervise the vote counting. In response, the civilian advisory council, formed to help the military council gain acceptance with the populace, ceased operations. The move was an embarrassment to the military council. The reputation of the military was further tarnished in late December, when it beat, kicked, and stripped several women who were participating in a women"s demonstration against military rule.

After the third and final round of voting, the Muslim Brotherhood emerged as the clear winner, taking 47% of the seats in parliament. The Salafis won 25%, giving Islamists more than 70% of the seats. The first democratically elected parliament in more than 60 years convened in January 2012. Parliament, however, will remain secondary to the military council until the military hands power to a civilian government, which is expected after May"s presidential election. The legislative body was charged with forming a committee to write a new constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood named as many as 70 Islamists, including 50 members of parliament, to the 100-person committee. Given its dominance in parliament and control over the new