Monday, June 24, 2024
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Egyptians vote to usher in democracy after revolution

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Cairo: Riven by political differences and violence, Egyptians on Monday began voting in a historic three stage parliamentary elections to usher in democracy in the Arab world’s most populous nation, nine-months after a popular uprising toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

The elections, clouded by violence, demonstration and confrontation between the ruling military and pro-democracy protesters, will be the first step in a transfer to civilian rule, promised by the ruling army council that replaced Mubarak in February.

Initially, 27 provinces will go to the polls in three separate stages in a long procedure until January to elect the 508-member People’s Assembly or lower house of the parliament. On Monday and on Tuesday, ballots will be cast in the main cities of Cairo and Alexandria, as well as Fayyum, Luxor, Port Said, Damietta, Kafr el-Sheikh and the Red Sea province.

A run-off is scheduled for December 5. Over 50 political parties, along with thousands of independent candidates are running in the elections. The second stage will be held on December 14 in Giza, Beni Sueif, Menufia, Sharqiya, Beheira, Suez, Ismailiya, Sohag and Aswan, with a run-off scheduled for December 21. The third and final round will take place on January 3 in Minya, Qaliubiya, Gharbia, Daqahliya, North Sinai, South Sinai, New Valley, Matruh and Qena. The last run-off will be held on January 10.

The final results are expected on January 13. Voters have been asked to elect 498 members of the lower house of parliament, while 10 others will be appointed by interim military leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. The voters would again cast their ballots on January 29 to elect the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament.

The new parliament will choose a 100-member committee to draft a new constitution for the country as per the SCAF’s (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) plan. Elections are being held through a mixed system — the individual candidate system and the closed party list system. The ballot paper asks each voter to pass three votes: two for individual candidates split into professional and farmer/worker categories and one for a political grouping. (PTI)

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