Parliamentary elections entered their second phase as electoral campaigns kicked-off Tuesday, to end on 21 November for an obligatory electoral silence period before the ballot.
The Ministry of Religious Endowment renewed its warning against the use of worship places to campaign for elections, saying it would also immediately revoke any preacher’s license if they use mosques to discuss parliamentary elections.
Such a practice violates the regulations set by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) regarding electoral campaigns. Such violations were committed in the first phase, as both Islam and Coptic Orthodox Christianity were used in candidates’ promotions.
Moreover, according to Ayman Okeil, Director of the Maat Foundation and coordinator of the local-international joint observatory mission, most candidates for the second phase did not respect the dates set to start campaigning.
Okeil had previously blamed the SEC for not penalising violating candidates, and the SEC stated that it was short-handed until full investigations into reported incidents were completed.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, election winners of the first phase began registration procedures at the parliament, and at least 147 members out of 273 winning candidates obtained their membership cards, state-run news agency MENA reported.
This comes as the second phase of elections is scheduled for mid-November in the governorates of Cairo, Daqahleya, Damietta, Gharbeya, Ismailia, Kafr El-Sheikh, Menufiya, North Sinai, South Sinai, Sharqeya, Suez and Qaliubiya.
The first phase included 14 governorates in Egypt, and concluded in October with a participation turnout of 26.5% in the first round and 21.7% in runoff elections, according to the SEC.
“People’s low participation in the elections has various reasons such as lack of knowledge and conviction about candidates and their programmes, disinterest in politics, in addition to traditions that prevent women from voting,” explained Naayem Zaghloul, Public Relations officer at the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), as quoted by MENA on Tuesday.
At the same time, SEC spokesperson Omar Marwan’s press statement suggest that a “3% margin of error and violations marked the first electoral phase”, in reference to the number of incidents where polling stations were delayed in opening and a number of judges were absent.
On the other hand, Egyptian youth were absent from the voter, and other citizens have stated poor government performance and no faith in reform as reasons behind not voting.