Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's ruling military council, has issued a decree confirming the details of elections for the Shura Council (the upper legislative house in parliament).
Contradicting previous polling rules laid down by the Supreme Electoral Commission that the elections will be held over three stages, they will take place in two. The elections for the lower house, the People's Assembly, were held over three stages, with the final one set to start on Tuesday, 3 January.
According to the decree, the first stage of the Shura Council’s elections will be held on 29-30 January in Cairo, Alexandria, Gharbiya, Daqahaliya , Menoufiya, Damietta, North Sinai, South Sinai, Fayoum, Assiut, Qena, the Red Sea and New Valley (Al-Wadi Al-Gedid) governorates. The run-offs for these governorates will be held on 7 February.
A week later, on 14-15 February, elections will be held in Giza, Qalioubiya, Sharqiya, Beheira, Kafr El-Sheikh, Ismailiya, Port Said, Suez, Marsa Matrouh, Beni Suef, Minya, Sohag, Luxor and Aswan. Again the run-offs will be held the following week on 22 Febaury.
Tantawi, Egypt's de facto ruler, went on to "invite" the newly-elected Shura Council to convene formally at 11am on 28 February.
The Shura Council is comprised of 270 members, 180 of whom are elected with the remaining 90 appointed by the head of state.