Voter turnout low in Egypt upper house polls

Egypt Islamists seek more gains in elections for parliamentary body with limited powers.

January 29, 2012 11:52
1 minute read.
Egyptian elections in Cairo, November 28

Egyptian elections 521. (photo credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)

CAIRO - Polls opened on Sunday in an election for Egypt's upper house of parliament, with Islamists seeking to repeat the success they enjoyed in elections for the lower house.

The parliamentary votes, which began in late November, are the first since a popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak last February.

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The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned during his rule, won 47 percent of lower house seats, far more than any other party, and a low turnout on Sunday was blamed by some voters on the feeling that the upper house vote now mattered little.

After the lower house election that saw an unprecedented turnout and was hailed as Egypt's most democratic since military officers overthrew the king in 1952, some Egyptians knew nothing of the upper house vote.

The powers of the upper house are limited and it cannot block legislation in the lower house. However, its members must be consulted before lower house MPs pass any bill.

Under an interim constitution, both houses are responsible for picking a 100-strong assembly that will write a new constitution to replace the one that helped keep Mubarak in power for three decades.

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