Few voters turn out for Shura Council runoffs

Few voters turned out for the runoff vote of the first phase of the Shura Council elections, which are being held Tuesday and Wednesday.

The elections for Egypt's upper house of Parliament will conclude at the end of February.

In North Sinai, four candidates from the Freedom and Justice Party and the Nour Party are competing for the single-winner seats.

In Damietta, FJP candidates are going up against candidates from the Nour Party in the runoff. Military officers secured the polling stations, which remained empty as voting began.

In Qena, the vote started at 8 am with a low turnout for both single-winner and party-list seats. In Red Sea Governorate, turnout was also low, while police and army forces jointly secured the polling process.

The Carter Center in a statement criticized the low voter turnout and the lack of interest shown by NGOs and political parties in the first round of elections, despite official efforts to improve the voting process through the use of plastic ballot boxes and counting votes at the polling centers.

The institute, headed by former US President Jimmy Carter, said the fact that the schedule for elections was announced only nine days after the conclusion of the People's Assembly elections and only a few days after celebrations of the first anniversary of the 25 January revolution is to blame for the low turnout.

The Emergency Law, criticism of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and investigations into NGOs over foreign funding have also negatively impacted the vote, the institute said.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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