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New Summary: 25 November – 1 December

05/12/2011

In Egypt the first elections since the revolution have seen a remarkable turnout (around 70% according to reports) with votes now being counted. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is expected to achieve a sweeping victory and to be the leading bloc in the new parliament, with possibly 40% of the seats. The more conservative Salafist party of Al-Nour is likely to come in second place, winning around 20% of the seats.

Turkey has announced that it will impose a set of economic sanctions against Damascus, due to the continuing crackdown on protests. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that President Assad’s regime had ‘come to the end of the road’. Meanwhile, Syria promised to free hundreds of protesters in an attempt to ward off the implementation of sanctions against the country. On Thursday a UN human rights official stated that the country had entered a state of civil war, with the death toll reaching 4,000 since protests began earlier this year.

In Jordan’s capital Amman, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni, in order to discuss the renewal of peace talks. Mr Abbas said that he hopes that an election will be held on May 4, 2012, after having also attended reconciliation talks with Hamas leaders.

Israel is expected to release a considerable amount of tax money that it had recently withheld from the Palestinian Authority, on the condition that the PA will not undertake unilateral steps. In addition to this Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced that the Israeli government may cut off all support to the Gaza Strip, if the Palestinian Authority will not reconsider its reunification plan with Hamas. Currently Israel supplies roughly 60% of Gaza’s electricity supplies and about 5 % of its water supplies.