Saturday, December 9

Egypt to hold parliament polls in three rounds


CAIRO: The voting of Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections will be held in three rounds in October, the ruling army council said today.

Preparations for the elections will start in September and the polls will follow within 30 days, Assistant Minister of Defense Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), told China’s Xinhua news agency, at a press conference.

The voting for elections in the People’s Assembly, the lower house which has 504 seats, and Shoura Council, the upper house with 390 seats, will be held at the same time, Shahin said, adding that there will be three rounds of voting, with 15 days between each round.

Half of the parliamentary seats will be reserved for representatives for workers and farmers, he said.

Shahin said the SCAF seeks to transfer the power soon and the army has promised to transfer power to a civilian government after the elections.

“We want the whole world to know that the elections will be characterised by transparency and freedom, and we urge all sectors in the country to avoid any violation against the safety and security of our country.”

Shahin said the age limit on candidates for the People’s Assembly elections will be lowered to 25 from 30 to increase the participation of youths, and the seat quota for women in the parliament, which was introduced under the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, was cancelled.

The SCAF issued a decree Monday to form the Higher Electoral Commission, which will start work on Sept 18 headed by the chief of the Cairo Appeal Court Abdel Ahmed Ibrahim.

Shahin said the army’s role in the coming elections will just be maintaining security and the whole process will under the supervision of the judges.

“Our judges will supervise the whole process and we refuse any foreign interference in our internal affairs,” he said.

After Mubarak resigned on Feb 11 due to 18 days of nationwide anti-government protests, the military council took power and the parliament was soon dissolved. – Bernama