Egypt to hold senatorial elections

Egyptian expatriates across 124 countries will today vote to fill senatorial seats within the country’s upper legislative chamber. Elections for

Egypt Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Egyptian expatriates across 124 countries will today vote to fill senatorial seats within the country’s upper legislative chamber.

Elections for Egypt’s 300-member Shura Council chamber come as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected almost 100,000 Egyptians and killed nearly 5,000 thus far. Voters participating in today’s elections are set to cast mail-in ballots as a public health precaution.

The vote is the first of its kind since 2012, a year after the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak. Although it was established via post-revolutionary legislation, the Shura Council is an invention of the Mubarak era and only 100 of its 300 seats are directly elected.

How Cairo manages expatriate voting—and later home voting on August 11 and 12—will substantially shape the legitimacy of the legislative institution. Likely disputes over mail-in voting and claims of ballot tampering will cast doubt on the efficacy of the Shura Council and the viability of popular representation via Egypt’s political institutions. Given the experimental nature of today’s pandemic-affected vote, there is a high probability of political turbulence should these disputes or claims arise.

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