Upstart Egypt Fundamentalist Party Surprises Itself with Strong Turnout

(Globe and Mail-Canada) Patrick Martin - In the poor neighborhoods of Ein Shams, a Cairo suburb, they didn't call themselves Salafists, they were just pious Muslims and never got involved in politics. Figures released Sunday by Egypt's High Electoral Commission show that more than 24% voted for the upstart Salafist Nour Party in their first election ever. Nour "campaigned on a trinity of issues: food, shelter and clothing," said Mahmoud, 29. It was a winning formula. "They're the big surprise," says Hisham Kassem, the former publisher of the independent Al Masry al Youm. "No one saw them coming, not to this degree." On the delicate issue of relations with Israel, Saad el-Din, 47, said the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state would be honored by all Egyptian parties, but a new government "would have the right to fix any unjust part of the treaty, with the consent of both sides."

2011-12-05 00:00:00

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