Voter turnout for the first phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections amounted to 26 percent for the first round and 21 percent for the runoff, the High Elections Commission (HEC) announced in a press conference late Friday.
HEC head Ayman Abbas stressed that this wasn’t the lowest electoral turnout in Egyptian history, citing the 2005 Parliamentary Elections, in which only 23 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots, and the 2012 Shura Council elections, for which turnout was just 12 percent.
Abbas said 273 members were elected to parliament, including 213 individual candidates, of whom five are women, 12 are under 35 years old and 108 belong to political parties.
He added that all 60 seats allocated to party lists and coalitions were taken by the pro-government For the Love of Egypt list.
The highest turnout for the runoffs was recorded in Marsa Matrouh, according to Abbas, which saw a 33 percent voter turnout. The lowest, he said, was in Alexandria, with only 14 percent casting their ballots.
He emphasized a lower number of reported irregularities during the runoff election, and called on voters to head to the polls in the second phase, scheduled for November 21–22, with the runoff slated for December 1–2.
This first phase of elections included 14 governorates: Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, the New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira and Marsa Matrouh.
The second phase of elections will include 13 governorates: Cairo, Qalyubiya, Daqahliya, Damietta, Monufiya, Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Kafr al-Sheikh, Ismailia, Port Said, Suez, and North and South Sinai.
Five years of voting
Since the 2011 Revolution, Egyptians have been called to the polls for a total of eight elections, most with multiple phases and runoffs. Citizens have voted on three houses of parliament, two presidents and three constitutions.
The electorate responded enthusiastically to the first parliamentary elections in 2011, and to the first presidential elections in 2012, but less than half of all eligible voters cast their ballots in other elections.
Below is a timeline of voter turnout since the 2011 Constitutional Referendum.
2011 Constitutional Referendum
On March 19, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces called on Egyptians to vote for changes to the constitution that paved the way for parliamentary and presidential elections. Around 77 percent of votes were cast in favor of the amendments, and the overall turnout was 41 percent.
2011 People’s Assembly
Elections for the lower houses of parliament took place over three stages, with runoffs for contested seats where the vote was close. Despite the complexity of the voting system, turnout hit a record high.
In the first stage, which took place on November 28-29, 2011, with the runoff on December 5-6, turnout was reported at 62 percent.
In the second stage, which was from December 14-15, with the runoff on December 21–22, the turnout was slightly higher at 67 percent.
The third stage was held on January 3-4, 2012, with the runoff on January 10-11, and turnout was again 62 percent.
2012 Shura Council
Although the elections for the parliament’s upper house took place just months after the lower house elections, voter turnout was dismally low.
In the first round, from January 29–30, and the runoff February 5–6, turnout was just 15 percent.
In the second stage, from February 14-15, and the runoff February 22, turnout was only slightly higher at 12.2 percent.
2012 Presidential Elections
More voters turned out for the runoff of the 2012 presidential elections to choose between two polar-opposite candidates — Ahmed Shafiq and Mohamed Morsi — than for the first round. The first round, held on May 23-24 saw 46.42 percent turnout, while the second — from June 16-17 — saw 51.58 percent cast their ballots.
2012 Constitutional Referendum
On December 15, voters were asked by President Mohamed Morsi to approve a new constitution. The constitution was approved with 63.8 percent of the vote, and the turnout estimated at 30 percent.
2014 Constitutional Referendum
On January 14-15, 2014, Sisi asked voters to approve a new constitution, which passed with 98.1 percent of the vote, and witnessed a 38.6 percent turnout.
2014 Presidential Elections
The 2014 Presidential Elections took place on May 26-28, with Former Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi winning with 96.91 percent of the vote, amid a 44.47 percent turnout.
N.B: In several cases, there has been controversy about turnout figures, as high turnout is often seen as a sign of an election’s legitimacy. Where possible, we have used official estimates for purposes of comparison.