|Islamists won about two-thirds of the vote in the first round of parliamentary elections in Egypt [Reuters]|
One of the ways to get a handle on the current Egyptian elections is to try to compare them to the first set of post-communist elections. Some similarities are immediately apparent: Turnout is high. The forces of the "Old Regime" are apparently doing badly. But perhaps more illustrative, however, are the following differences:
First, the early post-communist elections were essentially dichotomous affairs: They were contested between forces supportive of the "Old Regime" (i.e., communist successor parties) and forces that wanted to lead to a transition to a more market based economic and a liberal-democrat political system, which I have elsewhere labelled "New Regime" parties. In Egypt, however, the contest appears to be trichotomous: between the Old Regime, liberal parties and Islamist parties.