Egyptians await poll results, Islamists see gains

Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:22pm EST
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By Alistair Lyon

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptians will hear results of their first free election in six decades on Thursday, with the Muslim Brotherhood expecting to pick up two-fifths of the vote for an assembly that might limit the power of the generals.

The Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest and best-organized Islamist group, hopes its new Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) will secure a solid platform in parliament, saying it hopes to form a coalition government once polls are over in January.

The ruling military council, under increasing pressure to make way for civilian rule, has said it will retain powers to choose or dismiss a cabinet. But the FJP leader said on Tuesday the majority in parliament should form the government.

The last government resigned during protests against army rule last month in which 42 people were killed, mainly around Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of the revolt that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak.

Kamal al-Ganzouri, asked by the army to form a "national salvation government," aims to complete the task in the next day or two, but acknowledged on Wednesday that five presidential candidates had turned down invitations to join his cabinet.

Protesters who returned to Tahrir last month, angered by the military's apparent reluctance to cede power, say the generals should step aside now, instead of appointing a man of the past like Ganzouri, 78, who was a premier for Mubarak in the 1990s.

"We want the military council to leave," said Heidi Essam, a 21-year-old law student. "We're not leaving Tahrir even if we have to stay for months until we get a transitional government."

Officials plan to announce on Thursday the outcome of contests for individual seats in the first stage of an election staggered over six weeks, but not those of the two-thirds of seats allocated to party lists which will be made public in January.   Continued...