The presidency has changed the timing of elections to accommodate Christians after public outcry over the election’s original schedule. In what the presidency considered “a prompt response by President Mohamed Morsi” he released a decree modifying the previous statement determining the timing of the elections for the House of Representatives.
The first stage of the first phase was rescheduled to take place on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 April, while the run-off stage will take place on 29 and 30 April.
The second stage, which includes polling in Giza, Alexandria, Sohag, Beni Suef, Aswan, Suez, Red Sea and the New Valley, will take place on 11 and 12 May. Run-offs will take place on 19 and 20 May.
The third stage, in which residents of Daqahleya, Qaliubiya, Menufiya, Qena, Domietta, Luxor, Matruh and South Sinai will vote, will take place on 28 and 29 May, with run-offs taking place on 5 and 6 June.
The fourth stage includes Sharqeya, Gharbeya, Assiut, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Fayoum, and Ismailia. The first stage of this phase will take place on 15 and 16 June, with run-offs on 23 and 24 June.
The House of Representatives will convene for the first time on 2 July 2013 at 11 am, according to the decree.
The original timing of the first phase, which was announced on Thursday, was met with public outcry. The first round of the phase was scheduled to take place on 27 and 28 April, during Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday. The run-off was initially scheduled to take place on 4 and 5 May, coinciding with Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, the most important feast in the Coptic calendar.
Coptic activists voiced their strong disapproval for the timing of the vote, saying it demonstrated the government’s disregard for Egypt’s Christian minority.
This year Coptic Christians will observe Holy Week from 28 April to 5 May. The week is an intensive period of prayer for Christians and concludes a 55-day period of fasting.
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