Egypt sets date for senate elections in August

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Egypt will hold Senate elections over two days in August, the chief of the country's election commission said on Saturday, more than a year after the restoration of Parliament's lower chamber, which was dissolved in 2014.

The body was reconstituted as part of constitutional amendments that also allowed President Abdel Fatah El Sisi to extend his stay in power, possibly until 2030.

Amendments made to Egypt's constitution last year provided for the creation of the Council of Senators, a 180-member secondary chamber that will be two-thirds elected by the public and the remainder appointed by the president.

Lasheen Ibrahim, chairman of the National Election Authority, told a televised news conference that Senate elections will be held August 11-12, with runoff elections to take place September 8-9 if necessary. Egyptian expatriates will vote August 9-10 and September 6-7.

People pray while observing safe distancing at the Al Emam Aly Mosque in Cairo. EPA

A waiter carries an order at a cafe in the Egyptian capital Cairo after authorities relaxed the lockdown measures in place to curb the spread of coronavirus. AFP

A worker prepares an order at a cafe in the Egyptian capital Cairo after authorities relaxed the lockdown measures in place to curb the spread of coronavirus. AFP

A note asking people to follow the instructions of the Health Ministry is pictured on the door of a cafe in the Egyptian capital Cairo. AFP

A worker disinfects the door of a cafe in the Egyptian capital Cairo. AFP

A customer gets his temperature measured by a worker in a cafe in Cairo. EPA

A waiter serves customers in a cafe after months of lockdown in Cairo. Reuters

A woman looks at clothes at a store after months of lockdown in Cairo. Reuters

Youth play football at a local sport centre after months of lockdown in Cairo. Reuters

Churchgoers wear face masks and maintain a minimum social distance between each other as they attend a mass at the Armenian Catholic Church in Cairo. EPA

A girl reads a book in a cafe in Cairo. EPA

People take part in a dawn prayer inside Amr Ibn Al-As mosque in Cairo on June 27, 2020 as Egypt eased restrictions on public prayers, imposed to contain its coronavirus outbreak. EPA

Worshippers are required to wear masks alongside other safety guidelines such as limited capacity at mosques, the use of personal prayer mats, temperature screening and social distancing. EPA

People pray while observing safe distancing at the Al Emam Aly Mosque in Cairo. EPA

Egyptians attend the Fajr prayer inside the Al Rahman Mosque in the Cairo's Maadi neighbourhood. Reuters

A worshipper records the dawn prayer inside Amr Ibn Al-As mosque in Cairo. EPA

Worshippers wait to perform dawn prayers at the Amr Ibn Al-As in Cairo. EPA

A volunteer wearing a face mask sprays disinfectant inside a mosque before it reopens to the public after three months. Reuters

A volunteer disinfects the entrance to a mosque in Cairo. Reuters

A volunteer sprays disinfectant in bathrooms at a Cairo mosque as it prepares to receive worshippers. Reuters

A volunteer wearing a face mask sprays disinfectant inside a mosque in Cairo. Reuters

"Holding elections during the pandemic that has swept the world necessitates that we take several precautionary measures to protect ourselves and society," Ibrahim said during a televised press conference.

He said all polling stations will observe health guidelines, with all voters and polling staff required to wear masks, and social distancing measures will be enforced.

Egypt reported 1,485 new cases of coronavirus on Friday bringing the total number of infections to 72,711, including 3,201 deaths.

Mr Ibrahim said "strict preventive measures" will be taken during the vote because of the coronavirus pandemic.

No gatherings are allowed for political campaigns, which will be mostly limited to social media, he said. Voters should wear face masks and observe social distancing while casting their ballots, he said.

The 300-member Senate was revived as part of constitutional amendments approved in a national referendum in April last year. The Senate had been dropped from Egypt's constitution in 2014.

The amendments extended a president's term in office from four to six years and allowed for a maximum of two terms. But they also included an article specific to El Sisi that extended his current second four-year term to six years and allowed him to run for another six-year term in 2024 — potentially extending his rule until 2030.

The constitutional changes also allowed the president to appoint top judges and grant military courts wider jurisdiction in trying civilians.

The amendments introduced the position of vice president and enshrined a 25 per cent quota for women in Parliament's lower, legislative chamber.

The poll results will be announced on Aug. 19 in the official state gazette, Ibrahim said.

Updated: July 5, 2020 08:00 AM

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