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Vol 46 No 25

Published 16th December 2005


Egypt

Democracy with fangs

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood emerges as a serious contender for power

The parliamentary elections over the past month give new meaning to the late President Anwar al Sadat's warning to rioters in 1977 that 'democracy has fangs and claws'. His successor President Hosni Mubarak's regime, together with secular oppositionists, have long argued that Egypt's Islamists would win no more than a quarter of the vote in free elections. That the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) could win nearly 40 per cent of the popular vote, despite heavy electoral violations, has come as a shock. The claws, it seems, are no longer just on the regime's side.

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