Egyptians cast votes in final round of parliamentary polls


Egyptians headed to the polls on Sunday for the second and final round of voting in the country’s first parliamentary elections since the army’s 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Polling stations were set to open in 13 of Egypt’s 27 provinces, including Cairo, for two consecutive days. The first round of voting, held in the 14 other provinces last month, was marked by low turnout.

About 28.2 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in the final round.

Around 3,000 candidates – among them 169 women – are contesting for 288 seats, according to local media.

Polling stations opened at 9 am (0700 GMT) for 12 hours.

Official final results of this round and possible run-offs are expected to be announced in early December.

Candidates backing President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi made big gains in the first stage, boosting speculation that the new parliament will not challenge the ex-army general.

The elections mark the final stage in a transition plan announced by al-Sissi in 2013 when, as army chief, he deposed Morsi following massive protests against his rule.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which came out on top in the 2011-2012 parliamentary polls, has since been outlawed in Egypt.

The ultra-conservative Nour Party, the only Islamist force to back al-Sissi and run in the elections, won 10 seats in the first stage, compared to a quarter of seats it had in the previous legislature.

Egypt has been without a parliament since mid-2012, when the country’s top court invalidated the Islamist-led legislature, saying it had been elected on faulty rules.