Sources from Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood reported major advances in the first phase of legislative elections, winning 34 of the 454 seats in Egypt's People's Assembly parliament. The group's candidates had aimed for approximately 50 and 70 seats overall in the three-phase election.
Campaigning under the banner "Islam is the solution," the movement presents itself as moderate, yet seeking the establishment of an Islamic state.
It has already doubled its parliamentary representation, winning 20 percent of the seats being contested in the first round, following a run-off election on Tuesday, according to the AFP. In 2000, it held only 15 seats in parliament. Its gains are attributed to an aggressive, well organized campaign.
Tuesday's voting in Cairo was marked by violence, corruption and claims of vote-rigging by President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party with seventeen people wounded in clashes.
Despite the charges of voting fraud, the movement has encountered fewer obstacles than in any previous election since 1928.
Tuesday's first round run-off followed Egypt's first ever contested presidential election in September which saw Mubarak returned to office in a landslide. The second round of elections is due to start on November 20.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )