Springtime for Islamists in Egypt

Yes, it's a takeoff on the wildly bizarre and funny Mel Brooks song from "The Producers." In a way, I feel like the audience listening to "Springtime for Hitler" in the film; absolutely aghast, horrified, and can't quite believe what has happened.

The official tally is in: Islamists in Egypt have captured more than 70% of the seats in Parliament.

The New York Times:

The military council leading Egypt since Mr. Mubarak lost power last February has said it will keep Parliament in a subordinate role with little real power until the ratification of a constitution and the election of a president, both scheduled for completion by the end of June.

But the council has assigned Parliament the authority to choose the 100 members of a constitutional assembly, so it may shape Egypt for decades to come, although the military council has sometimes tried to influence that process.

The election results were expected because of preliminary tallies after each of the three phases of the vote, but the confirmation comes in time for the seating of Parliament on Monday.

The tally, with the two groups of Islamists together winning about 70 percent of the seats, indicates the deep cultural conservatism of the Egyptian public, which is expressing its will through free and fair elections for the first time in more than six decades.

But the two groups have described very different visions and appear to be rivals rather than collaborators. The Brotherhood has said it intends to respect personal liberties and will focus on economic and social issues, gradually nudging the culture toward its conservative values. By contrast, the ultraconservatives, known as Salafis, put a higher priority on legislation on Islamic moral issues, like the consumption of alcohol, women's dress and the contents of popular culture.

I'm not sure if the Times is trying to be funny or what. They admit both the Brotherhood and the Salifis want the exact same kind of society - they only disagree about how fast to get there. How does this make them "rivals?" Also, this is hardly "two very different visions." It is one vision that unites both parties. The Brotherhood is just being a little more pragmatic about things.

I wonder what Mel Brooks could do with the "Arab Spring" in Egypt?