Newly-elected parliament member Amr Hamzawy has played down fears over the electoral rise of Islamists in Egypt’s first parliamentary elections following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) emerged the main winner in the first stage of the People Assembly’s elections, clinching 3.5 million votes, while the Salafist El-Nour Party, which espouses an ultra-conservative brand of Islam, came second with 2.3 million votes.
Two FJP members, Ramadan Omar in Cairo’s Maadi and Akram El-Shaer in the coastal city Port Said, also won individual seats without the need for a run-off.
Liberal activist and political analyst Hamzawy beat the odds by winning a seat in Heliopolis at the expense of FJP candidate Mohamed Aboul-Azm.
Hamzawy, who won 125,668 votes to Aboul-Azm’s 48,525, said he is not alarmed by the Islamists’ emphatic win overall, despite widespread concerns that they might try to enforce strict Islamic codes.
“I fully reject the Islamic scarecrow that was promoted by the previous regime,” he told a news conference at the Journalists' Syndicate Sunday.
“We can’t deny there will be an Islamic majority in the parliament. That majority should be accompanied by a cooperating minority in order to implement democracy and achieve social justice.
“It will not be appropriate in the coming period if a certain faction dominated the parliament. Whoever wins a seat should be committed to the country’s agenda which was set in Tahrir Square,” he added, referring to the epicentre of January’s revolution.
It remains to be seen whether the Islamists will build on their recent win when the second and third rounds get underway in Egypt’s complicated election process.
“Anyone who will not be able to meet the aspirations of the people will fail in the next elections after five years,” Hamzawy concluded.