Final phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections kicks off

Final phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections kicks off

The third and final phase of Egypt’s three-stage parliamentary elections kicked off early Thursday across 68 constituencies in nine governorates, the official MENA news agency reported.

   Some 10.6 million eligible voters are to choose 136 members of the People’s Assembly from some 1,774 competing candidates in the nine governorates, mainly in the Nile Delta.

   The legislative polls, which kicked off on Nov. 9 and will end on Dec. 7, are held on a three-stage basis to make sure that there are enough judges and Justice Ministry officials to monitor the polling process.

   Run-offs, if necessary, are held six days after the first round of voting in each stage.

   After four rounds of voting in the first two phases, Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and the largest opposition group Muslim Brotherhood have won most of the 302 seats decided.

   The NDP has secured 214 seats so far after dozens of independents rejoined the party.

   The party has fielded 444 official candidates for the elections, but a large number of party members who failed to gain party sanction decided to run as independents and won.

   Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, the de facto largest opposition group in the country, also scored major gains as its candidates, who ran as independents to sidestep an official ban on the group, won a total of 76 seats.

   The group had just 15 seats in the outgoing 454-member People’s Assembly, of which 444 members are chosen directly by the electorate with the remaining 10 appointed by the president.

   Egypt’s secular opposition parties, which have been loosing ground ever since the polls started, have won just a handful of seats in the first two phases.

   Local analysts believe that the NDP’s continued dominance in the polls and the remarkable rise of the Muslim Brotherhood will see Egypt’s political life increasingly polarized by competition between the ruling party and its strong Islamist challenger. Enditem