US 'concerned' over low turnout, low opposition participation in Egypt's elections

Ahram Online , Saturday 5 Dec 2015

The US State Department has said although Egypt's parliamentary elections were administered “in accordance with Egyptian laws” it is concerned about low turnout and limited opposition participation, according to a press statement released on Friday.

The US “note[s] preliminary statements by domestic and international observers that Egypt’s Higher Electoral Commission administered the elections professionally and in accordance with Egyptian laws,” according to the statement, “although we remain concerned about low voter turnout and limited participation by opposition parties.”

The statement noted that the US "looks forward" to the convening of the new parliament.

Overall turnout in Egypt's parliamentary elections, which began in October and concluded this month, was 28.3 percent, the High Elections Committee announced on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference, committee head Ayman Abbas said that 15,206,010 out of 53,786,762 eligible voters had cast ballots.

Egypt's parliament — the House of Representatives — ‎will be comprised of 596 members; 448 elected as independents ‎and 120 from party-based lists. The remaining 28 seats ‎will be filled by presidential appointments.

All of the 120 list seats were won by “For the Love of Egypt”, a pro-Sisi grouping.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has held legislative powers since his election in 2014 due to the absence of an elected parliament.

The US statement also noted continuing concerns about “limits on freedom of peaceful assembly, association, and expression and their impact on the political climate in Egypt.”

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