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.