Islamist set to sweep initial Egypt elections

Cairo: Results were delayed for a second time in Egypt`s historic elections that are expected to witness the emergence of moderate Islamists linked to Muslim Brotherhood as the dominant political force despite a tough fight given by radical Salafists in several regions.

The results for the opening phase of the first post-Mubarak parliamentary polls, will now be announced on Saturday after first being postponed from Wednesday evening until Thursday, the official MENA news agency quoted chief electoral official Abdel Moez Ibrahim as saying.

The delay was necessary "as the counting of votes is still going on in a number of districts because of the large number of voters who took part in these elections," said Ibrahim.

After its counterparts emerged victorious in the post Arab Spring elections in Tunisia and Morocco, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt `The Freedom and Justice Party` (FJP), claimed that it had won about 40 per cent of the votes, according to its own exit polls.

Secular liberals and hardline Islamists who follow the strict Salafi brand of Islam are battling for the second place, with reports saying the latter might prevail.

Muslim Brotherhood was persecuted and banned during the 30-year rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February following a popular uprising.

Official results are being awaited but unofficial election tallies offered by Egypt`s political parties suggest a strong showing for Islamist parties, particularly the FJP.

Surprisingly, several hardline Islamist candidates belonging to Al-Nur, which is the main party of radical Salafists are also set to win the polls in the opening phase, according to al-Ahram newspaper.