Yesterday on the Monkey Cage I predicted how parties would split the first 168 seats up for grabs in the Egyptian People’s Assembly.
We now have preliminary results from the run-off races in all bar two of the 56 majority district seats being contested. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has done a little better than I predicted, the Salafi Nour party a little worse. One tiny ray of sunshine for the liberals is that the Revolution Continues alliance picked up a few more seats than might have been expected. Indeed, liberal and secular candidates came from second place to win five seats in the run-offs held this week.
The FPJ did better than I predicted. Results reported in the Egyptian media today show that the second place candidate from the first round overtook the frontrunner to win the seat in 13 of the run-off races. The FJP were overtaken in three races by liberals and by a Nour candidate in another. But FJP candidates came from behind in seven districts and held onto their first place leads everywhere else. Nour candidates were the biggest losers in the run-off, losing their leads in six races and only coming back in one. This maybe the first evidence that the Salafi vote is capped at around a quarter of the popular vote and the Nour Party finds it difficult to build alliances and coalitions in the run-off races.
When compared to the PR vote share overall the Muslim Brotherhood led FJP are overrepresented by 13% and they poised to take the psychologically important 50% of seats in this first stage of elections. Along with the Nour and Wasat parties, Islamists have 72% of the seats. All other parties are slightly underrepresented, apart from the slight overrepresentation of the Revolution Continues party which represents some of the Tahrir Square groups.
As I noted yesterday the election now moves away from Cairo and Alexandria to the rest of the country. The first nine governorates were highly urban and in places where the liberals expected to do best. The next two rounds are being held in governorates which are rural and considered Islamist strongholds. Today it seems even more likely that by January the Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP will win a comfortable parliamentary majority on little more than 40% of the popular vote.