Egyptians wrap up 2nd stage of parliamentary vote

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CAIRO (AP) — Egyptians on Sunday wrapped up voting in the second and final stage of parliamentary elections, which were almost certain to produce a lower chamber packed with supporters of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The two-day vote took place in 13 of Egypt’s 27 provinces — including Cairo — with more than 31 million people eligible to vote in this stage.

Only around nine million people, or 28% of eligible voters, cast their ballots in the first stage last month, according to the National Election Authority. In total, more than 63 million are eligible to vote in the two stages. In August, Senate elections saw just 14.23% participation.

Polls closed Sunday at 9 p.m. local time and elections authorities immediately began counting ballots, with official results expected later this week.

The elections took place as the Arab world’s most populous country faced a slight increase in coronavirus cases, with authorities warning that a second wave of the pandemic lies ahead.

If needed, runoff elections for both stages will be held later in November. The new chamber is expected to hold its inaugural session shortly after final results are announced in December.

A total of 568 seats in Egypt's lower chamber are up for grabs. Candidates running as individuals are competing for half of the seats. The other half of the elected seats in the five-year chamber are reserved for four party lists.

El-Sissi will name 28 seats, or 5%, bringing the total number of seats in the lower chamber to 596.