Egyptians vote in second day of parliamentary elections

The election is taking place as Egypt faces a slight increase in coronavirus cases, with authorities warning that a second wave of the pandemic lies ahead. (AFP)
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Updated 25 October 2020

Egyptians vote in second day of parliamentary elections

  • Vote is likely to produce a toothless House of Representatives packed with supporters of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sis

CAIRO: Egyptians on Sunday trickled into polling stations on the second day of voting for the country’s parliamentary election amid a slight uptick in daily recorded coronavirus cases.
The first stage of the vote for the lower chamber of parliament began a day earlier in 14 of Egypt’s 27 provinces, including Giza and the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.
The second stage the vote is scheduled on Nov. 7-8 in the country’s 13 other provinces, including the capital Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula. The voting concludes with runoff elections.
The vote is likely to produce a toothless House of Representatives packed with supporters of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi that further rubber-stamps his policies, leaving the former military general with almost unchecked powers.
A total of 568 seats in the lower chamber are up for grabs, with more than 4,000 candidates running as individuals competing for half of the seats. Prominent, wealthy government-affiliated power brokers have an advantage.
The other half of elected seats in the chamber are reserved for the more than 1,100 candidates running on four party lists. El-Sisi will name 28 seats, or 5 percent, bringing the total number of seats in the lower chamber to 596.
Some 63 million voters are eligible to vote in the Arab world’s most population nation. The new chamber is expected to hold its inaugural session shortly after final results are announced in December.
The election is taking place as Egypt faces a slight increase in coronavirus cases, with authorities warning that a second wave of the pandemic lies ahead.
Face masks are mandatory at polling centers, which were disinfected before and during the vote, authorities said.
Authorities urged Egyptians to take part in the vote in order to show a high turnout and lend legitimacy to the election.
Only 14.23 percent of voters participated in the Senate election in August for the upper chamber, an advisory body with no powers, which was restored following a referendum last year.


Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

Updated 28 November 2020

Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

  • At the end of talks, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions”
  • They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible”

TANGIER: More than 120 Libyan deputies pledged Saturday in Morocco to “end the divisions” that undermine their country, starting by convening the elected parliament as soon as they return home.
The House of Representatives has not met for two years, and Libya has been wracked by violence and chaos since the toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Two rival administrations have been vying for control of the country — the Government of National Accord and an eastern administration backed by part of the elected parliament.
The latter is deeply divided, with sessions taking place in parallel in the east and west.
At the end of five days of talks in Tangier, Morocco, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged on Saturday to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions” that undermine Libyan institutions.
They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible,” and that all members of the House of Representatives would meet in session “as soon as they return” to Libya.
The session will take place in Ghadames, a desert oasis near Libya’s borders with both Algeria and Tunisia.
Ghadames is considered to be far from the centers of power.
“Having 123 deputies at the same table is in itself a success,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said.
“Libya needs a House of Representatives that plays its role... The next meeting in Libya will have a great impact on political dialogue,” he said.
The talks come at a time of increasing moves to break the deadlock in the country, which has Africa’s biggest oil reserves.
In mid-November, a UN-sponsored political dialogue forum in Tunis agreed to hold elections on December 24, 2021, but not on who will lead the transition.