Egypt’s triumphant Brotherhood eyes political credibility


Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is seeking to emerge as a credible and moderate force after marathon elections propelled it to the forefront of the political scene, analysts said on Thursday. But the once-banned Brotherhood, which for decades pushed the slogan “Islam is the solution”, is being challenged by ultra-conservative Islamists and must adopt a a clear political programme and band with liberal parties, they said.
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party claims to have won a crushing victory in Egypt’s three-phased parliamentary elections which wrapped on Wednesday, based on initial estimations. According to media reports, the FJP could clinch some 45 percent of seats in the parliament, which comprises 498 elected deputies and 10 appointed by the military council ruling Egypt since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak.
“The FJP is trying to appear moderate and is adopting an appeasing tone as it strives to set up a coalition with other parties,” Cairo University political sciences professor Mustafa Kamel Sayyed told AFP. “To become lawmakers they will certainly need to cooperate with non-Islamist parties,” he said.
On Wednesday the FJP won a much needed boost when its leaders held unprecedented talks with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at their Cairo headquarters. The meeting was the latest in a series of moves by the administration of President Barack Obama to reach out to the Brotherhood in a nod to Egypt’s new political reality.