U.S. Senator John Kerry met with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party in Egypt this weekend, and told Egypt’s interim government that the U.S. welcomed the results of Egypt’s first democratic elections. Voters gave the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party [FJP] nearly 40% of seats, and more than 24% more went to the ultra-conservative Salafi coalition led by al-Nour Party.
On Friday, Senator Kerry told Egypt’s interim Prime Minister that the U.S. believed the elections were characterized by transparence and integrity, despite local confusion during three separate rounds of voting. He added that America was prepared to provide assistance to prop up the Egyptian government during the transition from military rule to democracy.
On Saturday, he called for a major IMF cash infusion to keep Egypt’s fledgling democracy alive, and stressed the need to aid Egypt’s flailing economy. He also stated that the FJP’s electoral success was not surprising and he pressed the largely secular military to respect the elections’ outcome. It was the third time that an American official has met with the FJP in as many months.
The overwhelming electoral success of the FJP assures that it will be a dominant force in any government coalition. At this point, it remains unlikely that the MB-party will link up with Salafi parties for an Islamist coalition, due to the MB’s concern about provoking conflict with the military, and political conflict between the two groups. The MB supports gradualism in applying religious law, while the Salafis want the quick implementation of strict Sharia law.