Egypt’s First Post-Mubarak Elections
On November 28 -29, Egyptians began voting in Phase I of the first post-Mubarak legislative elections. Nine governorates across Egypt went to the polls to begin electing the lower house of Parliament, the People’s Assembly. Despite increasing unrest in the week prior to the start of elections, calm largely returned to the streets as Egyptians came out in droves to cast their ballots. Antonio Spinelli, IFES Country Director in Egypt, responds to some questions on the election.
Question: What was Election Day like in Egypt?
Answer: The atmosphere of both election days was generally positive throughout the country. Voters were enthusiastic about the opportunity to vote in the historical election. Although held in circumstances of tension and uncertainty, nonetheless, voter turnout exceeded expectations and voting took place peacefully, with only a few security incidents reported. While the opening of the polls was characterized by several operational delays, the overall perception was that these elections did not suffer from the interference and intimidation characteristic of previous elections.
Q: What was voter turnout?
A: With the official figures yet to be released, there are indications that voter turnout was significantly high, especially compared to previous elections in Egypt. Election monitors and military spokesmen have estimated turnout between 50%-70% of eligible voters.
Q: When will results be announced?
A: The results of the majority 2-round system and the number of valid votes obtained by parties under the closed party list system were expected to be announced by the High Election Committee on Wednesday, although that was delayed. The actual results of the closed party list system and the number of seats won by each party will only be known at the end of the third phase of the PA elections. This is because parties under the closed list system must reach a national exclusion threshold of 0.5% in order to win seats in the parliament.
Q: What is next for Egypt?
A: Elections will continue in phases across the country to elect the People’s Assembly, followed by similar staggered voting to elect the Shura Council. Elections will end in the last week of March 2012, with the new parliament expected to be seated at the end of that month. The newly elected parliament will then elect a 100-member Constituent Assembly to draft Egypt’s new constitution. For more information on Egypt’s electoral timeline, please visit www.sowty.net.