Egypt will hold Senate elections on two days in August, the chief of the country’s election commission said on Saturday.
The Parliament’s lower chamber was dissolved in 2014 and restored more than a year ago.
The body was reconstituted as part of constitutional amendments that also allowed President Abdel Fatah El Sisi to extend his stay in power, possibly until 2030.
Amendments made to Egypt’s constitution last year provided for the creation of the Council of Senators.
The public will elect two thirds of the 180-member secondary chamber, with the remainder appointed by the president.
Lasheen Ibrahim, chairman of the National Election Authority, said in a televised news conference that Senate elections will be held on August 11 and 12, with run-off elections to take place on September 8-9 if necessary. Egyptian expatriates will vote on August 9-10, and on September 6-7.
“Holding elections during the pandemic that has swept the world necessitates that we take several precautionary measures to protect ourselves and society,” Mr Ibrahim said during a televised press conference.
He said all polling stations would observe health guidelines, with all voters and polling staff required to wear masks and social distancing enforced.
Egypt reported 1,412 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of infections to 72,711. The figure includes 3,201 deaths.
Mr Ibrahim said “strict preventive measures” would be taken during the vote because of the pandemic.
No gatherings are allowed for political campaigns, which will be mostly limited to social media, he said.
The 300-member Senate was revived as part of constitutional amendments approved in a national referendum in April last year.
The amendments extended a president’s term in office from four to six years and allowed for a maximum of two terms. But they also included an article specific to El Sisi that extended his current second four-year term to six years and allowed him to run for another six-year term in 2024 – potentially extending his rule until 2030.
The constitutional changes also allowed the president to appoint top judges and grant military courts wider jurisdiction in trying civilians.
The amendments introduced the position of vice president and enshrined a 25 per cent quota for women in Parliament’s lower, legislative chamber.
The poll results will be announced on August 19 in the official state gazette, Mr Ibrahim said.