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The Muslim Brotherhood was edging toward a dominant role in Egypt’s first free Parliament in decades on Jan. 4, but said it would not impose its will over a new constitution and would work with all political rivals on the blueprint. Egyptians went to the polls for a second day in the final stage of the election for the assembly’s lower house, the first free legislative vote since military officers overthrew the monarchy in 1952. The vote is part of the ruling army council’s plan to hand power to civilians before July, ending its turbulent interregnum that began with the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February last in a popular uprising.
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has led after two of the three rounds of voting and the rise of Islamist parties in the poll has prompted Western concern for the future of Egypt’s close ties to Washington and peace with Israel. The party has surfed the wave of hostility to its long-time foe Mubarak. For millions of poor Egyptians, its record for charitable work in neighbourhoods ignored by his government suggests it would care for their needs if it won power.