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Voter turnout remained low Wednesday as the runoff vote for the single-winner seats in the second phase of Shura Council elections kicked off in 13 Egyptian governorates.
The end of these runoffs Thursday will mark the official conclusion of polling for Egypt’s first post-Hosni Mubarak Parliament, for which lower house elections began in late November.
Polling is being held over two days in 13 governorates: Aswan, Beheira, Beni Suef, Giza, Ismailia, Kafr al-Sheikh, Luxor, Minya, Port Said, Qalyubiya, Sharqiya, Sohag and Suez. Marsa Matrouh was also included in the first phase earlier this month, but had no races close enough to require a runoff.
State-run agency MENA reported that polling stations across the governorates opened their doors for voters on schedule at 8 am. However, other reports said several stations opened behind schedule because judges and candidates’ representatives arrived late.
Youssry Abdel Karim, head of the technical office for the High Judicial Elections Commission, said more than 25 million people are eligible to vote in this round. The election is being conducted at 11,230 polling stations and supervised by the same number of judges.
Abdel Moez Ibrahim, head of the elections commission, on Tuesday urged voters to go to the polls to exercise their constitutional rights so that the election will genuinely reflect constituents.
Very low turnout was reported in Qalyubiya soon after the polling stations opened.
Supporters of the Freedom and Justice Party and of independents continued to plug for their candidates in violation of election regulations the ban campaigning 48 hours before the vote begins.
The situation was no different in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag, with only a handful of voters turning out to vote. Judges at most of the polling stations had to wait for candidates’ representatives to arrive to open the booths.