Egypt voter participation reaches nearly 30 percent

Published November 26th, 2015 - 11:00 GMT

Voter turnout in the second phase of Egypt's parliamentary elections is 29.83 percent, the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) said on Wednesday, up from 26.56 in the first phase, as 8,412,011 cast their votes in 13 provinces. 

Ayman Abbas, the head of SEC told a press conference Wednesday evening that there were 7,839,611 valid votes in the second and final phase of elections for the House of Representatives, but 572,400 were invalid, representing 6.8 percent of the total. 

Even in polls abroad, the second phase had a higher turnout than the first, withover 37,100 voters turning up, an increase of about 22 percent from the first phase, when just over 30,000 cast their votes. 

The second phase included the capital Cairo, which recorded one of the lowest participation rates with less than a fifth of the province's 6.8 million eligible voters casting their ballots. 

The highest participation rate was in South Sinai, where 41.6 percent of eligible voters took part. 

The total number of eligible voters in the second phase was 28.2 million.

As was the case in the first phase, the results of phase two were largely inconclusive, with only nine candidates running for individual seats coming out triumphant in the first round of polling. The winners include film director Khaled Youssef, known for his ardent support for the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. 

Candidates eligible to compete in the run-offs scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 2 inside and outside Egypt will fill the remaining 213 seats allocated to the individual seats system.

Egypt's unicameral House of Representatives is made up of 568 elected presentatives, of which 120 are chosen through coalition or party lists, and 28 appointed by the president, totalling 596. 

Individual seat candidates or coalition lists must secure 50 percent plus one votes to win seats. In phase one only four candidates won individual seats in the first round, leading to run-offs in the majority of constituencies.

Meanwhile, the "For the Love of Egypt" coalition once more swept all 60 seats up for grabs, meaning that the coalition has secured all 120 seats allocated to the lists system in the legislature.

The coalition is the brainchild of former military intelligence general Sameh Seif Elyazal, who openly seeks to limit the powers of parliament. 

The upcoming parliament has been assigned many powers including the authority to withdraw confidence from the prime minister, other ministers or even the president. Article 161 of the 2014 constitution allows a supermajority of two thirds of parliament to call for a public referendum to end the president's term and hold early presidential elections. 

Elyazal previously told Reuters that in a year or two "we will see" what really needs to be amended in the constitution. 

The parliamentary elections were originally scheduled for earlier this year, with the two phases set to be held in late March and late April.

They were postponed when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled in March against the constitutionality of an article in the constituency law, which was issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. 

The house elections mark the final phase of a "roadmap to democracy" which then-defence minister Sisi announced to the nation in July 2013, following the military ouster of Egypt's first democratically-elected President Mursi after protests against his rule.  


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