Juan Cole: South Carolina and Gingrich; Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

Roundup: Historians' Take

Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.  The following is reprinted from his blog Informed Comment. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Juan Cole.

The election results for Egypt’s lower house have been announced, and the Muslim religious parties appear to have gained over 70% of the seats. The Muslim Brotherhood is claiming its Freedom and Justice Party took 47% of the 498 seats in the lower house of parliament.

The hard line fundamentalist Nur Party won 29% of the seats contested on a party basis.

To have 51%, the Muslim Brotherhood party needs a coalition with another party. Its leaders have at least said that they prefer to make that alliance with a secular party like the Wafd rather than with the hard line Salafis.

The other big political news is that Newt Gingrich won the Republican primary in South Carolina. I have noticed a big difference in the coverage of these two events in the U.S. press. American journalists noted that 60-65% of Republican voters in South Carolina are evangelicals. But they did not then add reaction to this statistic. They did not then immediately quote pro-choice women or secularists as saying that they were afraid South Carolina’s church-goers have a disproportionate influence on U.S. politics (South Carolina’s population is only 4 million.)...

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