Mohamed Abul-Enein, owner of the Cleopatra Group (Photo: Ahram file)
Alaa Qandil, the spokesman of Egypt's National Electoral Commission, has announced that voting in the by-election of the two districts of Giza and Malawi in Upper Egypt kicked off on Tuesday.
Qandil said the two by-elections are being supervised by 300 judges, and that a second day of voting will be held on Wednesday.
Four candidates are competing in Giza's by-election, the most prominent of which is high-profile businessman Mohamed Abul-Enein, the owner of Ceramica Cleopatra Group and chairman of the Egyptian-European Businessmen’s Council.
Abul-Enein, who is fielded by the parliamentary majority party Mostakbal Watan (the Future of a Homeland), joined parliament for the first time in 1995 when he was appointed by then-president Hosni Mubarak. In 2000, Abul-Enein won the seat for Giza district, and soon became head of parliament's housing committee. In 2005, Abul-Enein won the Giza seat for the second time, and was later elected as head of parliament's industrial committee.
Sources close to Abul-Enein said he decided to run even though this current parliament will expire in July. New parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Egypt in November.
Sources said that Abul-Enein hopes winning the Giza by-election will prepare the ground for having a seat in Egypt's 2020-2025 parliament when elections are held in November.
Abul-Enein will face three candidates, all of whom are independent.
The National Electoral Commission decided to hold a by-election in Giza district after its representative Mohamed Dessouqi died of a heart attack on 30 November.
As for the by-election in Malawi district, which is in Upper Egypt's Minya governorate, seven candidates will compete. Six are independent and one, Mohamed Abdel-Hakim, is fielded by the Mostakbal Watan Party.
Ahmed Sharmookh, Malawi's former MP, also died from a heart attack on 8 December.
The results of the two by-elections will be announced on Wednesday night.