Election officials wearing protective face masks count ballots inside a school used as a polling station and counting centre in Cairo, August 12, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)
Polling stations closed in 14 governorates nationwide on Wednesday at 9 pm, wrapping up the two-day run-offs for Egypt's Senate elections were held Tuesday and Wednesday amid tight security and strict precautionary measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Election Authority (NEA) announced vote-counting started at sub-committees immediately following the closure of polling stations.
The second day of run-offs witnessed a light to moderate turnout, according to live footage by satellite TV channels throughout the day.
The run-offs saw 52 candidates competing for 26 seats.
Egyptian expats cast their ballots abroad on Sunday and Monday.
According to the NEA, among the 52 candidates 24 are affiliated with Mostaqbal Watan (Future of Homeland) Party, four with the Islamist Nour Party, three with the Guardians of the Nation Party, two with the People's Republican Party, one with the Congress Party, one with the National Movement Party, and one with the Ittihad (Union) Party.
The contested seats are in 14 governorates: Qalioubiya, Menoufiya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Giza, Beni Suef, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia and Marsa Matrouh.
Some 174 senators representing different constituencies countrywide were officially named last month after securing votes during the first round of elections.
There are 63 million eligible voters out of the country 100 million plus population.
Only 8.95 million (14.23 percent) cast their ballots during the first round in August.
In the first round, the majority of seats were grabbed by the pro-government coalition "National Unified List", which is led by the Mostaqbal Watan Party (Future of Homeland), claiming, along with its allies, the majority in the newly reconstituted 300-seat upper house of parliament.
The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan Party won 118 (around 60 per cent) out of the 200 contested seats. Mostaqbal Watan won 68 individual seats and 50 party list seats in the first round, according to the NEA.
The Senate, which was created in accordance with constitutional amendments approved last year, will act as an advisory chamber to the House of Representatives. It will sit in place of the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament that was dissolved in 2014.
Two-thirds of the members are elected via the individual candidacy and the closed party list systems, and the rest will be appointed by the president.
The first session of the new body, when senators will be sworn in, is set to be held in October. The first five-year term of the Senate will end in 2025.