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Egyptian electoral list dominated by Sisi supporters wins Senate election

A man riding a donkey near a polling station in the town of el-Ayyat in Giza province south of the Egyptian capital on 11 August 2020 holds an electoral poster for a candidate running for the upper house election in the newly-created Senate. [AFP via Getty Images]
A man riding a donkey near a polling station in the town of el-Ayyat in Giza province south of the Egyptian capital on 11 August 2020 holds an electoral poster for a candidate running for the upper house election in the newly-created Senate. [AFP via Getty Images]

A 100-member closed electoral list dominated by supporters of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won a third of the seats in a newly created Senate, the head of the National Election Authority said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Only about 8 million of the more than 62 million registered voters turned up on Aug. 11-12 to cast their ballots in the election for the second chamber of parliament, giving a voter turnout of 14.23%, Lasheen Ibrahim said in a televised press conference.

The Council of Senators, an advisory body without legislative powers established through a constitutional amendment approved last year, will include 200 elected members and 100 presidential appointees.

As in Egypt's main parliamentary chamber, the House of Representatives, supporters of the president are expected to dominate the Senate.

One hundred Senate members will be elected as individual candidates and 100 more from a closed-list system, where people vote for parties rather than individuals.

READ: Egypt's opposition TV channels are a rare phenomenon 

The only closed list that was submitted was led by the strongly pro-government Mostaqbal Watan Party, although it included six members of two parties from a coalition that opposed last year's constitutional changes.

The list got the support of more than 5% of voters across the country, the legal percentage needed to declare that it had won by acclamation, Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim on Wednesday announced the names of 74 candidates who won individual seats and added that a runoff vote would take place on Sept. 8-9 to determine the winners of the remaining 26 individual seats.

Officials say the Senate will enhance political participation.

But the build-up to the elections was low key, which commentators attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of awareness about the new chamber, and voter apathy

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