Egypt sets August election dates for restored Senate

CAIRO (AP) – Egypt will hold Senate elections over two days in August, the chief of the country’s election commission said on Saturday, more than a year after the restoration of Parliament’s lower chamber, which was dissolved in 2014.

The body was reconstituted as part of constitutional amendments that also allowed President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to extend his stay in power, possibly until 2030.

Chairman of the National Election Authority Lasheen Ibrahim told a televised news conference that Senate elections will be held on August 11-12, with runoff elections to take place on September 8-9 if necessary. Egyptian expatriates will vote on August 9-10 and on September 6-7.

Ibrahim said “strict preventive measures” will be taken during the vote because of the coronavirus pandemic.

No gatherings are allowed for political campaigns, which will be mostly limited to social media, he said. Voters should wear face masks and observe social distancing while casting their ballots, he said.

The 300-member Senate was revived as part of constitutional amendments approved in a national referendum in April last year.

The Senate had been dropped from Egypt’s constitution in 2014.

The amendments extended a president’s term in office from four to six years and allowed for a maximum of two terms.

But they also included an article specific to el-Sissi that extended his current second four-year term to six years and allowed him to run for another six-year term in 2024 — potentially extending his rule until 2030.