CAIRO – Egypt’s ultraconservative Islamist party said Friday it plans to push for a stricter religious code in Egypt after claiming surprisingly strong gains in this week’s initial round of voting for parliament, the first elections since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.

Egypt’s election commission announced only a trickle of results Friday and said 62 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the highest turnout in Egypt’s modern history. Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim, the head of High Election Commission, jokingly described it as “the highest since the time of pharaohs.”

Preliminary counts leaked by judges and individual political groups indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm took the largest share of votes. Following closely behind was the ultraconservative Islamist Nour Party and a coalition of liberal parties called the Egyptian bloc, according to those unofficial counts.

That trend — if confirmed and if extended over more rounds of voting — would give the religious parties a popular mandate in the struggle to win control from the ruling military that took over from Mubarak and ultimately reshape a key U.S. ally.