Voters queue up for casting their ballots in Cairo. Image Credit: Courtesy of Al Ahram Gate)

Cairo: Egyptians today began voting in the second and final round of legislative election in which 2,085 independent and party-linked contenders are vying for 284 seats.

The final round is held for two straight days in 13 of Egypt’s governorates including Cairo, with the run-off vote scheduled for December 7-8.

The first round of electing the Council of Deputies or the lower house of the Egyptian parliament was conducted late last month in the other 14 governorates.

Some 62.9 million Egyptians are eligible voters in the two-round polls.

Enthusiastic voters held the Egyptian flag, as they waited Saturday outside several polling centres in Cairo to cast their ballots amid tight precautions against COVID-19. Police stationed outside the facilities made sure that voters were wearing the protective face masks and observed social distancing. Free disinfectants and masks were available.

After voting in Cairo’s eastern quarter of Heliopolis, President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi instructed abidance by precautions against the virus inside and outside polling stations, state media reported.

The facades of several polling centres were decorated with colourful banners taking the shape of the Egyptian flag as electoral officials were on duty to guide voters to the balloting sites.

Personal contacts

Strong voter showing was also reported in several rural areas where family links traditionally play a crucial role in parliamentary elections. Candidates there usually depend on personal contacts with heads of local big families in their electoral districts to influence potential voters.

According to the Egyptian electoral system in the current polls, 284 contenders should be elected as independents while 284 others should be elected on the basis of the absolute closed list system whereby the list securing over 50 per cent of the cast ballots becomes the winner.

Al Sissi has the constitutional right to appoint 28 more lawmakers, bringing the total number of the assembly’s members to 596.

The final results of the legislative vote are due by December 14.

The outgoing legislature was dominated by Al Sissi’s backers.