Egypt votes for upper house
CAIRO - The Associated PressEgyptians submitted their ballots yesterday for the upper house of parliament, a largely consultative body with limited powers.
Turnout was light early yesterday in Cairo, one of 13 provinces where the first stage of elections for the Shura Council are taking place. A second stage will take place on Feb. 14-15. The Shura Council is composed of 270 members. Only two-thirds are elected while the rest are appointed. Islamists dominated elections for the People’s Assembly, the more powerful of the two houses of parliament, in voting that ran from Nov. 28 through January. Turnout was heavy in these elections, which were the first since the Jan. 25-Feb. 11 2011 mass uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.
One secular party, the Free Egyptians, had announced that it was boycotting Shura Council elections to protest what it described as violations of Egypt’s election laws by Islamist parties during the People’s Assembly vote. Once the Shura Council elections are complete, according to Egypt’s transition plan, the parliament is tasked to select a 100-member panel to draft the country’s new constitution. The ruling military council which took power after Mubarak’s ouster is then scheduled to transfer power to an elected civilian president by the end of June.