Despite a half-day off the Egyptian government granted its employees on Monday, a low voter turnout continued to plague the country’s parliamentary elections on the final day of the second stage in the balloting. Egypt has not had a parliament since a court ruling dissolved its Islamist-dominated legislature in 2012. The elections come against a backdrop of growing security and economic concerns following the crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that killed all 224 people on board last month. Russia has said that a bomb had downed the plane and a local Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attack, dealing a severe blow to Egypt’s vital tourism sector.
Final results are scheduled to be announced in December and the 596-seat chamber is expected to hold its inaugural session later next month. The first phase of voting took place last month in 14 provinces with a turnout of nearly 27 percent. The second, due to end Monday, is being held in the other 14 provinces and the capital, Cairo.
Voter turnout has not been this low since the 2011 ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising, except for the vote for a toothless upper chamber in 2012.