Judges overseeing the vote count in Egypt's parliamentary elections say Islamist parties have won a majority of the contested seats in the first round. The judges spoke on condition of anonymity because official results are expected to be released later Thursday.
They say the Muslim Brotherhood could take 45 percent of the seats up for grabs. The liberal Egyptian bloc coalition and the ultra-fundamentalist Nour party are competing for second place.
Together, Islamist parties are expected to control a majority of parliamentary seats by March. This week's vote was the first of six stages of parliamentary elections that will last until then.
Continued success by Islamists will allow them to give Cairo's government and constitution a decidedly Islamist character. It could also lead Cairo to shift away from the West towards the Iranian axis.
It will also diminish the influence of Cairo’s caretaker junta, which has sought to maintain the Mubarak-era status quo and keep US foreign aid dollars – running into the billions per annum – flowing.
Analysts say Islamists may also seek to annul the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, which could prompt Israel to seize the Sinai Peninsula for the fourth time in its history to create a strategic buffer zone.
After reaching the Suez Canal in 1967 and controlling the Sinai for twelve years,, Israel ceded Sinai to Egypt under the 1979 treaty on condition it remains demilitarized.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which birthed the virulently anti-Israel Hamas terror militia, might also seek to effectively annex Gaza. Should Hamas be triumphant in future PA elections, they would also gain a foothold in Judea and Samaria.