The cabinet announced half a day off on Monday for public employees, as the second phase of parliamentary elections kicked off Sunday.
A total of 28,204,225 voters are registered for the second phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, which includes the governorates of Cairo, Daqahleya, Gharbeya, Qaliubiya, Menufiya, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Ismailia, Suez, Sharqeya, Port Said, North Sinai, South Sinai and Damietta.
According to the state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), there are 2,893 candidates competing over 222 individual seats in 102 constituencies.
Those aged between 21 and 30 represent 27% of the voters, yet, they remain absent from the elections, as the first phase. According to local NGO Maat for Peace and Development’s observatory mission, turnout has been increasing throughout the first day.
“Our mission, covering 92% of polling stations, observed that participation turnout is higher than the first day of the first phase,” the report said.
In the National Zamalek School, some lines were observed in front of polling stations. “The elderly represent the majority of voters,” a judge told Daily News Egypt.
“People here come from an upper social class and are well-educated; it is rare that I get asked about whom to vote for or voting procedures,” he added.
Daily News Egypt visited the polling station at the school in Zamalek at around 2pm, at which point the judge said he had slightly over 120 voters out of a total of 2,457 registered voters.
The same judge was in charge of a polling station 6th of October City during the first phase of elections. “We would barely count 100 votes by the end of the day,” he said, explaining that he expected participation to be somewhat higher in the second phase.
In the Zamalek constituency, voters must select only one candidate for the individual list-system. “Of course this makes it easier for me; my relative voted in Dokki district in the first phase and I remember he had a problem because he wanted one candidate but he had to chose two or three in total that he did not even know of,” said Amr, 55, after casting his vote.
Moreover, the same types of violations committed by candidates recurred, whether buying or directing voters, or violating electoral silences and distributing goods to voters, according to different observatory reports by NGOs and political parties.
This comes as the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) appears to be making further efforts to confront electoral violations. Last week, the SEC announced in a press release that it encouraged anyone who had documents on violations committed by candidates to present them to the SEC, especially concerning surpassing the legal maximum expenditure limit on campaigns.
Moreover, the SEC held a press conference in the first half of the day to update the public, during which spokesperson Omar Marwan announced receiving 141 complaints and pointed to a number of other violations and undertaken measures.
Meanwhile, in North Sinai, authorities decided to ease curfew hours by postponing the curfew for four hours until 11pm on election days to allow residents to cast their ballots in the parliamentary elections, amid reports of ‘medium’ turnout amid unstable security conditions.
Egyptians abroad started voting Saturday and finished Sunday, with nearly 28,300 votes cast, as announced Sunday by Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdy Loza. Marwan said the highest participation rates came from Kuwait, and in Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Finally, Daily News Egypt visited Aim Shams, as 44 candidates are competing over three seats in the constituency, which is known as an Islamist stronghold, formerly annexed to the Matariya district.
Although turnout was relatively low in the first hours of the first day, the district witnessed high competition between heavy contenders from big families and the former National Democratic Party (NDP).