Egypt has entered the second phase of the election of its lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives. The voting began on Saturday, the 7th of November from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is continuing until 9 p.m. on Sunday, the 8th of November.
Voters across 13 governorates (Cairo, Daqahliyya, Qalyoubiyya, Menoufiyya, Gharbiyya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Sharqiyya, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailiyya, Suez, North Sinai, and South Sinai) are casting their ballots over these two days. Around 31 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in this phase.
2,083 candidates are competing over 70 individual seats, while 284 are running under the list system, in which the country is divided into four groups of governorates, each of which elects one of the lists running. Two of those lists have already been elected in the last round and the remaining two will be determined in this phase of the election.
The domestic vote was preceded by mail-in voting coming in from consulates and embassies around the world on Friday, and the results will be announced on the 15th of November.
Many influential figures in Egyptian politics and society have already cast their votes, including President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Pope Tawadros of the Church of Alexandria, and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Preventative measures against the spread of COVID-19 are being taken, with a mask-wearing mandate, as well as the enforcement of social distancing. President El Sisi urged voters to be mindful of the risk of the virus’ spread.
The first phase of the elections, which took place on the 24th and 25th of October, had a turnout of about 28 percent and yielded a majority for the pro-government Mostaqbal Watan Party.
There will be a run-off round of the first phase of the elections will be held abroad from the 21st to the 23rd of November, and domestically on the 23rd and 24th. The run-off round of the second phase will be held abroad from the 5th to the 7th of December and on the 7th and 8th of December.
The voting is being observed by 56 local and 14 foreign organizations, and 158 local and 153 foreign media outlets are covering it. Officials have been encouraging citizens to vote in the current elections, hailing it as a national duty.
This newly elected House of Representatives is intended to boost the voice of constituencies and increase popular representation.