Egypt Islamists on Collision Course With Army

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Egypt Islamists on Collision Course With Army

Post  hurricanemaxi on Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:44 am

The Muslim Brotherhood may need to wrest power from Egypt’s generals to meet the expectations of voters, whose backing helped the group claim it is on course for an historic election victory.

Ali al-Korey, a self-proclaimed secularist, voted for the Brotherhood’s surrogate party because, he said, it’s “capable of helping build Egypt.” So did Fatma Azzam, for a different reason: she said it can help the country get “closer to God.” And Mona Rida was impressed by the free medical services the group offers in her working-class neighborhood.

Such support helped propel the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party into an early lead, according to the group, which said it is set to win 40 percent of ballots counted so far. Even if the group secures a strong presence in the new parliament, it may not be able to fulfill its pledges to voters without beefing up the powers of the assembly.

“There’s going to be a confrontation between the Brotherhood and the military,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. “The Brotherhood wants a strong parliament and the military council wants a weak one. The reason the Brotherhood fought for parliament is because they’re going to use it as an agent of change.”
Economic Turmoil

Results are due today from the first of three rounds of voting in Egypt’s first election since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak. The Brotherhood’s parliamentary strength is unlikely to become clear until final election results are announced in January.

The party campaigned on a platform to trim the budget deficit, link subsidies to job creation and help bring back the investors who shunned the country amid the turmoil that accompanied Mubarak’s ouster.

Egypt’s gross domestic product grew 1.8 percent in the fiscal year through June, the slowest in at least a decade. The yield on dollar bonds due April 2020 rose as high as 7.03 percent yesterday, the highest since January, and the benchmark stock exchange is down 44 percent this year.

The party adopts a largely pro-market platform, supporting private enterprise and promising to create jobs by directing more investment toward industries, agriculture and information technology. Aware of fears surrounding its political ascent after decades of suppression, officials of the once-banned Brotherhood, some accomplished businessmen in their own right, have been greeting investors and bankers at their offices with business-friendly messages.
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