People queue to cast their vote outside a center during the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections in Giza, Egypt, October 24, 2020. REUTERS
Polls in several regions in Egypt closed on Saturday evening, concluding the first day of voting for the new House of Representative elections amid tight preventive measures to which voters strictly adhered, according to the National Election Authority (NEA), which added that “no violations” were reported.
The polls had opened this morning in 14 governorates and received voters in an “orderly manner,” and voting concluded at 9 pm, according head of the NEA Lashin Ibrahim.
The NEA said it has not received complaints of violations related to the voting process throughout the day.
The governorates included in the voting were Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, El-Wadi El-Gedid, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira and Matrouh.
Polling stations will reopen for a second day on Sunday, with the results of the first round to be announced by 1 November at the latest.
The first stage of run-offs will be held on 21-23 November for Egyptians abroad, and 23-24 November at home with the final results declared on 30 November at the latest.
The total number of eligible voters in Egypt is 63 million, out of a population of 100 million. The eligible voters in the first stage are estimated to be nearly 33 million.
According to media reports, the turnout was moderate early in the day in most areas, with a majority of voters being women. Overall voter turnout increased later in the day after a one-hour break at polling stations in the afternoon.
Top officials, including Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, cast their ballots at their polling stations, and urged citizens to participate in the elections.
Voters strictly adhered to anti-coronavirus measures, wearing protective masks as they stood in lines outside different polling stations to cast their vote.
Security forces were stationed at vital locations to secure the polling stations. Policemen were also present to help elderly voters, and female police officers were stationed to assist female voters.
According to the State Informational Service (SIS), authorised media personnel were allowed into polling stations without restrictions, with the SIS only receiving a limited number of complaints from media personnel related to photographing, meeting with heads of polling stations, and confusion over local and foreign press inside some polling stations.
Around 570 journalists working for 166 media institutions were authorised by the NEA to cover the elections’ two stages.
The House election is the second election to be held in Egypt amid the coronavirus pandemic, the first being the Senate vote, which was held in August.
Almost 4,000 individual candidates and eight coalition lists are competing over 568 seats in this election. Half the seats will be filled through the individual candidacy system and the rest through party lists.
A total of 284 seats will be up for grabs in the first stage, with half – 142 seats – allocated for individual candidates, and the other half for party lists.
The second phase will see a first round on 7-8 November and run-offs on 7-8 December.
The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan Party, which currently holds majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, is fielding 284 candidates, the largest number from any party.
It is contesting all 143 individual districts as well as the four party list districts in the race, eying a second majority status after it secured the Senate elections in August.