The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood captured at least 22 more seats in Egypt's parliament Saturday, despite cordons of police that fired tear gas and rubber bullets in what appeared to be a determined government effort to block opposition voters and clamp off building momentum by the Islamic-based organization.
The early Interior Ministry figures showed the banned but tolerated Brotherhood increasing its share in parliament by more than fourfold over its representation in the outgoing parliament, with a third and final stage of voting still to go on Dec. 1, with a runoff likely six days after that.
The outcome, if it becomes final, would push the Brotherhood theoretically past number of seats needed under new consitutional rules to nominate a presidential candidate in 2011.
Armed backers of both Islamist and secular politicians engaged in fierce clashes that, combined with police action, severely curbed turnout and scarred an election that was seen as a test of Egypt's pledge to open its authoritarian political system.
Nongovernment organizations and judges monitoring the polls complained security forces blocked thousands of the 10 million eligible voters from entering polling stations in nine provinces where 122 seats were to be decided after no candidate garnered more than half the vote in the second round of polling six days ago.
Three prominent figures from President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party were among those turned out of the 454-seat People's Assembly, where the NDP had held an 80 percent majority, AP reports.