Third phase of Egypt's elections kicks off (Photo by: Reuters)
The third and last phase of Egyptian parliamentary elections commenced in nine governorates on Tuesday morning, with more than 14 million eligible voters expected to cast their votes.
As most poll stations in Qalyoubia, Gharbeya, Daqahleya, Minia, Qena, North Sinai, South Sinai, Wady el Gedeed and Matrouh opened their doors to voters at 8am, only modest queues were seen. According to Ahram Online’s reporter in Qena, Upper Egypt, only big cities are seeing long queues in the early hours, while turnout in the villages is low.
The last two phases saw a participation rate that exceeded 50 per cent, according to official statements. Despite documentation of many electoral law violations, the elections are so far hailed by many as the first free elections in Egypt in decades.
A total of 2,746 candidates are competing for 150 seats; 100 on the electoral list and 50 for the individual seats. The elections are taking place today and tomorrow while runoffs are scheduled to take place January 10 and 11.
Once the results of the third round are announced, the parliament’s new lower house will hold its first session on 23 January, two days before the first anniversary 25 January Revolution.
Egypt’s new People’s Assembly will have 498 elected parliamentarians while the ruling military council will appoint another ten members.
Islamist parties formed by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis acquired about two-thirds of the seats in the first two rounds. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party alone gained 48 per cent.
According to the Brotherhood’s website, 136 candidates from the Freedom and Justice Party are participating in the race, with 100 on the electoral list and 36 on the individual list. Key figures from the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm are topping the party lists in this round including the FJP's Secretary General Dr. Saad Katatny in his hometown of Minia. Dr. Mohamed Beltagy, Secretary General for the FJP in Cairo, will also top the list in the 2nd district in Qalyoubia.