Who's who in Egypt's election

Today Egyptians are wrapping up the first of several rounds of voting for the first Egyptian parliament since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak. Here are the options facing Egyptians as they go to the polls. 

The Alliance for Egypt

The Alliance for Egypt, also known as the Islamist Bloc, is made up of three Islamist parties – the Salafist Al-Nour Party and Al-Asala Party and the Building and Development Party. All three were previously members of the Democratic Alliance for Egypt, but left because of the small share they were receiving in the party’s electoral lists.

They are expected to pose stiff competition for the Democratic Alliance for Egypt, particularly FJP candidates. Voters who favor Islamist candidates previously had little choice but to vote for the Muslim Brotherhood, but now there is a wider selection of groups. 

The alliance plans to field 693 candidates, contesting all available seats, and 610 of those candidates will come from Al-Nour, the largest Salafist group in Egypt and the first to be registered as a political party. Its roots are in Alexandria, where fellow Salafist party Al-Asala has decided not to run any candidates in deference to Al-Nour. Al-Asala became well-known after the January 25 revolution and draws its support from the Cairo area. 

Al-Nour spokesman Nader Bakkar said the central goal of the bloc is “the application of Sharia in a gradual way that suits the nature of society” – in other words, applying Islamic law in a way that won’t alienate Egyptians and “relies on science in pursuing progress and prosperity.” 

The bloc’s handling of female candidates and positions on women’s rights have been controversial, emphasizing the need to keep women and men separate while still fielding dozens of female candidates in order to comply with quota laws. Many salafists do not believe that women should vote and party leaders have stressed that they are only fielding female candidates out of necessity.

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