The second and final day of voting for Egypt's new Senate has been going smoothly since polling stations opened their doors at 9am local time nationwide on Wednesday morning, officials say.
According to reports, the turnout at polling stations has varied from moderate to heavy, with voters wearing protective masks while standing in line as they waited to cast their vote in several parts of Cairo.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aty were among the officials who cast their ballots on Wednesday.
In comments after casting his ballot, Shoukry lauded the process of organising and securing the Senate elections, which kicked off on Tuesday and is due to wrap up later on Wednesday.
The foreign minister also stressed the importance of the public's participation in the election to choose their representatives in the second parliamentary chamber.
The electoral process is being secured by the armed forces in coordination with the interior ministry, with intensified security measures put in place to ensure a "safe climate" for citizens casting their ballots.
The State Information Service (SIS) said 564 foreign media correspondents representing 163 international media organisations registered with its foreign press centre covered the electoral process in all governorates across the country.
The authority said it has received five complaints from foreign reporters on the second day of voting and 17 complaints on the first day about difficulties facing them in their coverage.
Some of the first day’s complaints were related to taking photographs at some polling stations in Cairo and Giza, which the authority said was the result of them not carrying permits from the National Elections Commission.
The problems had been solved in coordination with the concerned authorities, SIS said in a report on Wednesday, adding that foreign media correspondents were performing their work “freely and without any hindrance” on the second day of voting.
“No allegations have been reported concerning the integrity of the electoral process or committing any kind of violations at polling stations,” SIS said.
The vote, which is being supervised by 18,000 judges assisted by 120,000 clerks, is being held at some 14,000 polling stations across the country.
The polling stations are due to close on Wednesday at 9pm local time, with the results of this first round to be announced on 19 August.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry wearing a face mask casts his vote at a polling station during the second day of Egypt's senate elections in Cairo, August 12, 2020. REUTERS
Egypt's Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty casts his ballot at a polling station during the second day of Egypt's senate elections in Cairo, August 12, 2020 (photo courtesy of Egyptian Cabinet)
A woman wearing a face mask casts her vote inside a school used as a polling station during the second day of Egypt's senate elections in Cairo, August 12, 2020. REUTERS
A man in a wheelchair prepares to cast his vote inside a school used as a polling station during the second day of Egypt's senate elections in Cairo, August 12, 2020. The sign reads "School Theatre" REUTERS
Security forces wearing face masks stand guard outside a polling station during the second day of Egypt's senate elections in Cairo, August 12, 2020. REUTERS