The results of the first round of parliamentary elections in Egypt will be announced either Friday or Saturday, the Egyptian military promised. Initially, these results were planned to be announced the next day after the elections — on Wednesday, however, by the scheduled date, the vote count had not yet been completed due to the unprecedented high turnout: about 70% of the country’s population took part in the elections. However, the results of the first round are already clear: according to preliminary calculations, the Islamist «Party of Freedom and Justice», representing the «Muslim Brotherhood» movement, which under Mubarak was prohibited from participating in elections, took the lead. According to various sources, this party received from 40 to 50% of the vote. In this regard, the experts of the Russian tourist business are rather pessimistic about the chances of further development of the Egyptian direction.
Thus, according to opinion polls, the “New Wafd” party follows the moderate Islamists from the “Party of Freedom and Justice” with 26% of the votes. The third place with 9% of the votes can be taken by the ultra-Islamist party «Al-Nur» («Light»), which advocates the exclusion of Christian Copts from political life and the introduction of Sharia norms in the country.
Inside the country, such Islamists promise to fight against the «immorality» and «moral crisis» that allegedly hit society under Mubarak. The innovations may affect not only Egyptians, but also foreign tourists, who brought Egypt more than $ 10 billion in revenue a year. Islamist ideologues propose to prohibit vacationers from “violating Islamic traditions in clothing” by banning swimwear, shorts and other open outfits. Another possible innovation is the introduction of dry law in restaurants and hotels in Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh and other resort towns.
The only force that can prevent Egypt from sliding towards the Iranian or Saudi model is the army. It was she who, until recently, was considered the guarantor of secular foundations. The chairman of the Supreme Military Council, Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, had previously promised to transfer power to civilian politicians after the presidential elections scheduled for June 30. However, analysts do not exclude that if the Islamists establish control over the parliament and begin to pursue their policy too zealously, the marshal may change his mind.
Recall that the elections to the lower house of the Egyptian parliament — the National Assembly, were initially divided into three stages. On November 28 and 29, residents of nine of the country’s 27 provinces voted, including Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Port Said. The second round of voting is scheduled for December 14 and 15, and the third for January 3 and 4. Only after that, by about mid-January, the lower house will be fully formed, with 498 out of 508 deputies to be elected by voters, and another 10 appointed by the military authorities. By the way, three months after the elections of the lower house in Egypt, elections of the deputies of the upper house will take place, and they will be held in six rounds and will end only by March 11.
It is also worth adding that from the moment of the January “revolution” to the present time, there has been a strong political instability in Egypt. So, during the last pre-election week in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, there were mass demonstrations demanding the transfer of power to the civilian government, which killed 45 people. As a result of these riots, the government of Isam Sharaf resigned on November 22. However, the confrontation between the police and the opposition in Tahrir Square had come to naught by election day. However, after the voting ended, tensions increased again: on the evening of Tuesday, November 29, unidentified armed men attacked protesters in downtown Cairo, who were protesting against the authority of the Supreme Military Council. The demonstrators were fired upon from small arms and pelted with Molotov cocktails, as a result of which at least 80 people were injured.
As a result of all these events, representatives of the travel industry began to fear that tourists, already frightened by revolutionary events, against the background of «Islamic» bans, would stop flying to Egypt altogether, preferring other, safer and more friendly countries. However, while the situation is not so critical, and it is quite possible that Egypt will be able to avoid both sliding into the abyss of Islamization and a significant reduction in tourist traffic.
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