In a plenary session Sunday, the Islamist-led upper house of Egypt’s parliament, the Shura Council, currently endowed with legislative powers, approved that the House of Representatives — Egypt’s lower house parliament and formerly named the People’s Assembly — be increased by 42 seats, from 546 to 588. According to Hatem Bagato, the newly-appointed minister for parliamentary affairs, the increase was necessary to align to the orders of the High Constitutional Court (HCC) that stated there must be fair representation of citizens in the upcoming parliament. “The [HCC], in a report to Shura Council on 25 May, said the distribution of seats in the upcoming parliament was not made fair for seven governorates by the House law,” said Bagato, adding that “as a result, each of these seven governorates will be increased by six seats, [adding] a total of 42 seats.”
The secretary general of the Presidential Elections Commission has denied rumors that Ahmed Shafiq garnered the most votes in the first round of the election held last week. “The counting is not yet complete,” Hatem Bagato told the website of the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram on Sunday, saying that the final results would not be announced before considering the five appeals submitted by presidential candidates. On Sunday, the election commission began to review the complaints over the poll, which has left Egyptians with a runoff choice between an Islamist apparatchik, Mohamed Morsy, and throwback candidate from the Hosni Mubarak era, Ahmed Shafiq. Both contenders seek to claim the mantle of the 25 January revolution, and are appealing to the many Egyptians who voted for more centrist figures in the first round.