Egyptians gloomier as country struggles after revolt: Poll

Reuters, Saturday 18 May 2013

Poll by Washington-based Pew Research Center shows that number of Egyptians with positive view of Muslim Brotherhood slid to 63 percent from 75 percent in 2011

Egyptians eat foul, or fava beans, at an open-air cart restaurant in Cairo , March 30, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Egyptians are getting gloomier about their country's future more than two years after an uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak, but most retain a favorable view of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, according to a poll released on Thursday.

Egypt's economy has been hammered by political turmoil and spasms of violence since the long-ruling autocrat's downfall, and has continued to deteriorate since President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected last June.

Facing currency and budget crises, the government has been struggling to secure a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan.

The poll by the Washington-based Pew Research Center shed light on a fast-evolving political landscape before a parliamentary election due later in 2013. It was based on 1,000 face-to-face interviews conducted from March 3 to March 23.

The poll showed 30 percent of Egyptians think their country is headed in the right direction, down from 53 percent last year and 65 percent in 2011. Just 39 percent believe things are better off now than they were under Mubarak.

The parliamentary election expected towards the end of the year will decide on the shape of a new lower house that will replace the Brotherhood-led one dissolved by court order last June. The survey showed Egyptians almost evenly split over whether the polls would be fair.

The poll showed that the number of Egyptians with a positive view of the Muslim Brotherhood had slid to 63 percent from 75 percent in 2011. Fifty-three percent express a favorable view of Morsi, while 43 percent him negatively.

About half expressed a positive view of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party - its vehicle for fighting elections - while the National Salvation Front, a loose coalition of secular and liberal opposition forces, received more negative reviews.

Less than half of those polled express a positive opinion of Hamdeen Sabahi or Mohamed ElBaradei, two of the front's leaders.

The Nour Party, a hardline Islamist Salafi movement, was the second biggest group in the dissolved parliament. The survey showed that 40 percent viewed it favorably and 52 percent not.

Pointing to Islamic conservatism, about six in 10 of those surveyed said Egypt's laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Koran, while 28 percent believed they should echo Islam's values and principles rather than the Koran literally.

Only 11 percent - roughly equal to the percentage of Egypt's Christian population - thought the Koran should have no influence over laws.

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