Egypt to hold parliamentary elections in October and November

The last vote for the House of Representatives was in 2015

Egypt's Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal (R) chairs the House of Representatives' constitutional and legislative affairs committee, during the first session of hearings on the proposed constitutional amendments in the capital Cairo on March 20, 2019. - Egypt's parliament on February 14 submitted to the legislative commission a series of constitutional changes that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power after his second term ends in 2022. The amendments are to be drafted into legislation and to be returned back for a final vote. (Photo by - / AFP)
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Egypt will hold parliamentary elections in October and November, elections commissioner Lasheen Ibrahim told a televised press conference on Thursday.

Final results following re-runs will be announced in December and the new legislature will hold its inaugural session in early January.

Egypt last held elections for the House of Representatives in 2015. The outgoing chamber was dominated by supporters of President Abel Fattah El Sisi, who was first elected to power in 2014, a year after the military, then led by the Egyptian leader, removed divisive Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi following mass protests against his one-year rule.

Mr El Sisi, a career army officer, was re-elected in 2018, defeating a little-known politician ranked among Mr El Sisi’s supporters. Several potential challengers, including two former generals and an active-service colonel, were either convicted and imprisoned for breaching the military code or reportedly pressured to drop out of the race.

Last year, a nationwide referendum adopted constitutional amendments that allow Mr El Sissi to stay in power until 2030 if he selects to do so. The changes also resurrected an upper house of parliament, formally known as the House of Senators, that was struck out by the country’s 2014 constitution.

Elections for the advisory, 300-seat senate took place in August and reruns were held this month. The new chamber will be held by supports of Mr El Sisi. Turnout for the senate’s election, however, was only 14.23 per cent of the country’s more than 60 million registered voters. Commentators attributed the low turnout to the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of awareness about the new chamber and voter apathy.

Mr Ibrahim appealed to voters to go to the polls in the upcoming elections.

“Voting is a moral commitment and a patriotic duty before it is a legal commitment prescribed by the constitution and the law,” he said.

The election commission created a stir last months when it said it was referring to prosecutors anyone who stayed away from the polls during the senate election without a valid reason, potentially starting legal proceedings against about 54 million registered voters. There is rarely used law in Egypt that fines registered voters 500 pounds if they stay away from the polls without a valid reason.