Egypt Votes: What Does the Future Hold?

UPDATE ON EGYPTIAN ELECTIONS (Dec 6): The Islamist bloc won more than 60% of the vote in last week’s round of parliamentary elections. The Muslim Brotherhood’s “Freedom and Justice Party” won 36.6%, while the newer radical Salafist party known as Al-Nour won 24.4%. There are differences in the ideologies of these parties, but the trend line is becoming clear: the hardline Islamic fundamentalists are gaining power and the pro-democracy moderates are being trounced. Make no mistake: this is a dangerous development for the U.S. and Israel. In February, the Muslim Brotherhood reiterated its intent to end Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel that has been in force since 1979.   

Please pray for the nation of Egypt at this critical juncture. The battle between the Radicals, the Reformers and the Revivalists is intensifying. Voting is underway in the first of several rounds of parliamentary elections. Egypt’s Christian long-persecuted and oppressed minority fears the Muslim Brotherhood will dominate the elections, move the country in a Radical Islamic direction, and make life even more difficult for all non-Muslims. That appears likely, though it is too soon to draw any firm conclusions quite yet. Roughly ten percent of Egypt’s 76 million people are known as Coptic or Orthodox Christians. Many of these are nominal Christians, but there is a spiritual awakening happening within the Church and a growing number of Copts are born again believers. A steadily growing number of Muslims are also turning to faith in Jesus Christ in Egypt today, though not nearly as fast as in Sudan or Iran. The Joshua Fund this year has invested in several projects to train and encourage Egyptian pastors and lay people and encourage them to share the Gospel and plant new congregations. Please pray that such work bears fruit and that more and more Egyptians find true hope, freedom and eternal security through faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible.

“Unofficial initial results from the first two days of Egypt’s parliamentary elections pointed to a dominant showing for Islamist candidates, fulfilling most analysts’ expectations that conservative religious politicians could have the upper hand in next year’s drafting of a new Egyptian constitution,” reported the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “Initial tallies put the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, in a leading position, followed by the Nour Party, which represents the ultraconservative Salafi school of Islam, FJP said. An FJP official said the party’s vote-counting observers expect the group to win as much as 50% of the vote. A Nour Party spokesman said the early returns point to a Salafi capture of about 10% to 15% of seats in the incoming Parliament….The results are far from final—a second and third round of elections covering two-thirds of Egypt’s 27 governorates are scheduled to take place in December and January. Individual candidate races that didn’t secure at least 51% will face runoffs beginning next week. But the early results indicate that Egypt—the largest Arab country and under former President Hosni Mubarak one of the region’s staunchest defenders of secular governance—is set to pivot toward political Islam. The next voting rounds include mostly smaller Egyptian cities and villages, where Islamist rule is popular.”

The Associated Press reported that “following an unexpectedly large turnout, Egypt’s election commission announced Thursday a delay in final results for the first-round of parliamentary elections while judges monitoring the count said Islamist parties are poised to gain a parliamentary majority.” The AP noted that “the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and best organized group, could take as much as 45% of the seats being contested. The Egyptian bloc coalition of liberal parties and the ultra-fundamentalist Nour party were competing for second place, the judges said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the count remains incomplete.”

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