Turnout reaches 62 per cent in Egyptian first round voting
Turnout in the first round of voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections reached 62 per cent, while most constituencies will witness a run-off for the individual candidates, elections officials said Friday, dpa reported.
"This is the highest turnout in Egypt's history since pharaonic times until now," said Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of Egypt's Elections High Commission.
More than 13 million citizens were eligible to cast their ballots on Monday and Tuesday in nine of the country's 27 provinces. Almost 8 million went to the polls.
Ibrahim said there were few irregularities, which did not "affect the mechanism, transparency and fairness of elections."
Those included "campaigning outside polling stations, some judges who were overlooking the process arriving later than scheduled and very limited rioting that took place in front of polling centres," Ibrahim said.
The three-stage vote is Egypt's first since former president Hosny Mubarak was deposed in February.
"The real winners are the great Egyptian people," Ibrahim told reporters. "We have crossed with the people to the shore of democracy."
There will be a run-off in most of the constituencies next week, as very few candidates got over 51 per cent of the votes. Not a single woman has won, or qualified for the Monday run-off.
Voters will choose between the two candidates who got the highest number of votes in the first round.
Each voter is supposed to choose two individual candidates and one party list for each constituency. Two thirds of the seats will go to party lists, while the remaining third will go to individuals.
Ibrahim did not announce the results of the party lists, saying they would be available later.
The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Egypt's influential Muslim Brotherhood, is expected to gain the largest share of the vote, according to non-official estimates.
They are expected to be followed by Al-Nour, an ultra-conservative Salafist party, while the liberal alliance, the Egyptian Bloc, will likely rank third.
High turnout has led to the announcement being pushed back twice, as election workers needed more time to count all the ballots, officials said.
The second round of voting is scheduled for December 14 in another nine provinces, while the third will be held on January 3.
Full results are due to be announced on January 13.
Three other rounds from late January until March will be held to elect the less powerful upper house of parliament.