Last Updated: Sat Feb 25, 2012 00:29 am (KSA) 21:29 pm (GMT)

Egypt’s Brotherhood claims majority in vote, blames police after attacks

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said it won 59 percent of the upper house’s 180 seats. (File photo)
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said it won 59 percent of the upper house’s 180 seats. (File photo)

The Muslim Brotherhood claimed in its own newspaper on Friday it had scored an outright majority in an election for Egypt’s upper house of parliament after having emerged as the top party in an earlier lower house vote. The group held Egypt’s Interior Ministry responsible for two separate attacks on Islamist politicians over the last 24 hours.

The official results of the upper house vote are due to be released on Sunday, however, turnout was low for the two-round poll which began on Jan. 29.

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice newspaper said the Islamist group’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) had won 107 seats, or 59 percent of the upper house’s 180 seats, according to Reuters.

It said another Islamist Party, the Salafist Nour Party, won 46 seats. Among secularist and liberal parties, Wafd won 19 seats and the Egyptian Bloc seven. An independent candidate took one seat.

The parliamentary votes, which began in late November, are the first since a popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

The earlier lower house election saw an unprecedented turnout and was hailed as Egypt’s most democratic since military officers overthrew the king in 1952.

But some voters blamed a lack of enthusiasm for the upper house election on the belief their ballot mattered little.

The powers of the upper house are limited and it cannot block legislation in the lower house. However, its members must be consulted before lower house members pass any bill.

The Brotherhood, which was banned during Mubarak’s rule, won 47 percent of lower house seats, far more than any other party.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood said on Friday it was holding Egypt’s Interior Ministry responsible for two separate attacks on Islamist politicians over the last 24 hours, accusing it of ignoring death threats made to its members.

Brotherhood parliamentarian Hassan al-Prince was seriously injured in a crash on Friday when a lorry pulled out in front of his moving car. Late on Thursday, armed men beat up presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh.

“We hold the Interior Ministry and all its institutions entirely responsible for these incidents,” the Brotherhood said in a statement, saying Prince and a fellow lawmaker had recently received death threats, according to Reuters.

“We demand (state authorities) perform the role they are supposed to perform and realize the people will not forgive them for their neglect and the dereliction of the rights of their country and its citizens,” read a statement on the website of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) which emerged as the biggest single party in Egypt’s parliamentary election.

The statement said recent acts of violence in Egypt, including a soccer stadium disaster in Port Said this month in which 74 died, were the result of a deliberate break-down of security.

Prince was deputy head of the newly elected parliament’s health committee which this week endorsed the transfer of ousted President Hosni Mubarak to a prison hospital

Protesters have long complained that Egypt’s ruling generals have been sparing their former commander the humiliation of prison by keeping him in a military hospital.

FJP official Hussein Ibrahim, after visiting Prince in hospital, quoted him as saying a lorry with a trailer blocked the path of his car, seemingly deliberately, causing the vehicle to crash into it.

Khaled Ghobara, director of security in Alexandria, said the crash was a simple accident.

“It’s just a traffic accident that could happen to me or anybody else. Don't amplify it,” he told Reuters television. “I am reassuring you that if there is in fact something to prove it was intentional, we won’t let it go,” he said.

In a separate incident near Cairo late on Thursday, presidential candidate Abul Fotouh was attacked by armed men and taken to hospital suffering from concussion.

He was on his way home in his car from a campaign event in the city of Munufeya when three masked men carrying machine guns stopped him, beat him on the head repeatedly, took the car and fled, a member of his campaign team said.

He was a leading Islamist candidate for the Egyptian presidency, but was expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood when he questioned its decision not to put up a presidential candidate.

He was released from hospital on Friday morning, a campaign spokesman said.

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