Egypt Elections

Egypt's first legislature in more than three years held its inaugural session on Sunday, where it elected a constitutional expert as its speaker. The parliament is made up of 596 members of parliament (MP), divided into 448 independents, 120 party-based MPs, and 28 presidential appointees. During the chaotic session, which was broadcast live on national television, Members of Parliament elected the Speaker of the House, amid controversy over references to the January 25, 2011 revolution in the constitution.

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A day before the first round of parliamentary elections in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi personally addressed the nation, appealing to “youth, women, workers, and farmers” to vote in big numbers. Sisi’s critics have said the low turnout of 26 percent, which has persisted through the runoffs, is a reflection of his waning popularity. But amid the current atmosphere of deep divisions among Egyptians, there are those who argue vociferously for the opposite.

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Last week, the High Elections Committee (HEC) announced the results of the first phase of Egypt's parliamentary elections. With only four candidates securing their seats, another 436 candidates are contesting the remaining 222 seats in a runoff round which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. 224 of those candidates are affiliated with twelve political parties, while 212 are independent candidates. With a turnout of 26.5 percent, the first stage witnessed the anticipated defeat of the Nour Salafi party, and the unexpected rise of fledgling party, Mostaqbal Watan, or the Future of the Nation. So what can be expected in the runoff? 

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Final figures for Egypt’s parliamentary elections have been announced, with voter turnout reaching 26 percent in the first phase. With only four independent seats secured, voters will be expected to go to the polls once again to cast their votes for the remaining 222 seats in run-off elections. The vote also has yet to take place in another thirteen governorates, including Cairo.

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A new Egyptian parliamentary election cycle is underway. With it, Egypt’s Nour Party—the political arm of the Alexandria-based Salafist Call movement—is facing one of the most difficult tests it has encountered since the party’s founding in June 2011. Preliminary results indicate that the party is failing that test. 

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Egypt’s parliamentary elections continued on Monday. Turnout remained low, the vote again dominated by women and elderly voters. Reports of electoral violations, in particular vote buying, were widespread.

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On the eve of Egypt’s first parliamentary elections in three years, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on Egyptians to vote. “Line up in front of polling stations and plant with your votes the hope for a bright tomorrow for our new Egypt,” Sisi said.

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Just outside of Cairo, in the governorate of Giza, Saber Mamdouh, a calligrapher, sits in his workshop, worrying. Saber, who turned sixty a few days ago, says that election season was once a frantic time. He was in his workshop around the clock, working to supply candidates with signs and plaques for campaign rallies. “I don’t know what is going on with the elections this time. The workflow is weak and no one seems interested,” he says.

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Sitting in the back of a black Mercedes making its way through Alexandria, Mohamed Badran is tired and losing his voice. Fifteen minutes earlier, the 24-year-old leader of the Mostaqbal Watan (Nation’s Future) Party spoke at an electoral rally for a party candidate. He is now on his way to a second rally in a convoy of cars driven by party members and staff. He flew from the southern province of Aswan to Cairo in the morning, and then drove three hours to the coastal city of Alexandria.

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It is 10 pm, and Saeed Abdelhafez, head of the Dialogue Forum for Development and Human Rights, is on a seven-hour train ride to the Upper Egypt governorate of Sohag, where he is training volunteers to monitor elections. 

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