Egypt to Hold Parliamentary Elections in March

News ID: 613607 Service: Other Media
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The election commission announced that Egypt will hold a long-awaited parliamentary election in two phases starting on March 22-23, something the government hopes will deliver political and economic stability after nearly four years of upheaval.

The most populous Arab country has been without a parliament since June 2012, when a court dissolved the democratically elected main chamber, reversing a major accomplishment of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The parliamentary election is the final step in a political roadmap the army announced in July 2013 after ousting Mohamed Mursi - Egypt's first democratically elected president - following mass protests against his troubled rule.

The second phase of the poll will be held on April 26-27, Reuters reported.

Egyptian leaders say the parliamentary election shows their commitment to democracy.

Critics say President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief toppled Mursi, has undermined freedoms gained after the uprising that ended 30 years of autocratic rule under Mubarak.

In the absence of parliament, Sisi has wielded legislative authority used to introduce economic reforms that have impressed investors, while also curtailing political freedoms.

Critics say Sisi has been delaying elections in order to consolidate his rule. But many Egyptians see him as a strong leader who can help the country recover.

The People's Assembly is comprised of 567 seats, with 420 elected as individuals and 120 through winner-takes-all lists with quotas for women, Christians and youth. The remaining seats are appointed by the president.

If Egypt has to resort to runoffs, the election process could drag on until early May.

Egypt is seeking to win back foreign investors and tourists scared off by instability and the insurgencies in the Arab country.

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