Egypt’s PM says voter turnout at 15 percent as polls close on second day

Published October 19th, 2015 - 05:00 GMT

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Monday that the voter turnout on the first day of voting inside Egypt was 15 to 16 percent, state news agency MENA reported.

His statements come on the second of two days of voting in the first phase of elections to choose members of the House of Representatives, the first since 2012. 

Ismail said he expected a higher turnout today, Monday, after the state gave public employees a half day off to allow them to cast their votes. 

He told reporters at a press conference in Cabinet's central operations room, which was set up to monitor the elections, that "polling stations are fully secured by the police and armed forces." 

The Supreme Elections Commission (SEC) said on Sunday afternoon that the turnout was a mere 2.27 percent but has since not provided figures on the turnout rate. 

Voting abroad in the first phase took place on Saturday and Sunday yielding a "moderate" turnout, an assistant to Egypt's foreign minister told Aswat Masriya on Sunday.  

Despite President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s calls on Egyptians especially youth to “line up” outside polling stations on the eve of elections, general apathy has pervaded both on the street and virtually on social media, where popular hashtags called for a boycott and poked fun at the entire process.

The parliamentary elections are the first held under president Sisi but this is also the first electoral poll held in the absence of Muslim Brotherhood contenders in 30 years. The group, labelled a terrorist organisation in December 2013, has called for boycotting the polls. 

The elections represent the final step in Egypt's "roadmap to democracy", announced by then-Defence Minister Sisi in July 2013, following the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood.

The second phase of voting in the parliamentary elections in Egypt and abroad is slated for Nov. 21-23. 

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