Egyptians vote in first stage of parliamentary elections

Cairo, Oct 18 (IANS) Egyptians on Sunday went to polls in the first stage of the parliamentary elections.

Polling stations opened at 9.00 a.m. and will close at 9.00 p.m., with more than 27 million people across 14 of Egypt’s 27 provinces eligible to vote on Sunday and Monday during the first phase, Al Ahram news reported.

A total of 286 seats will be up for grabbing in the first stage, with 226 independent and 60 other seats for party-based lists.

Some 27,402,353 voters — 13,257,507 women and 14,144,846 men — are registered to exercise their franchise, according to the High Elections Committee (HEC).

There are 2,573 candidates competing in the first round.

The HEC has announced that those who do not vote will be fined 500 Egyptian pounds ($63).

Voters in the remaining 13 provinces will head to the polls during the second stage scheduled to take place from November 22-23.

Parliament is expected to be formed in early December.

The country has been without a parliament since the previous legislature, elected in 2011, which was dissolved in June 2012 after a court ruled key electoral laws to be unconstitutional.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi currently holds legislative powers.

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