The elections for the Egyptian Senate Council were launched on Sunday morning. It started with the first stage where Egyptians residing abroad voted on Sunday and Monday, whereas those inside are to vote on Tuesday and Wednesday. The process has undergone so many peculiar paradoxes that the whole procedure is no longer taken seriously.

Egypt Watch managed to obtain the ballot paper designated for Egyptians residing abroad which contains the electoral lists for the first circle of the Republic which includes Cairo Governorate and southern and middle Delta. The ballot contained one list only, which is that of the “National List for Egypt,” formed by the National Security Service jointly with the General Intelligence Service. The choice on the single list was set as just “I vote – I don’t vote.”

The security services formed a consolidated list containing 11 parties, of which the Nation’s Future Party affiliated to the National Security Service secured the absolute majority with 59 per cent. The Republican People’s Party has 10 seats of the list, the Homeland Defenders Party similarly took 10 seats, whereas al-Wafd Party has six seats, three seats each for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Reform and Development Party, two seats for the Patriotic Movement Party, and one seat each for the Conference Party, the Egyptian Freedom Party, and the Modern Egypt Party.

The poll for Egyptians residing abroad started on Sunday August 8 and the process includes 124 countries across the world via 140 diplomatic missions. This time around, the elections were marked by the application of a voting system by mail as each diplomatic mission is to receive the votes via mail from those whose names were previously registered on the official website of the National Elections Authority and their personal data was verified during the period July 25-31.

The head of the National Elections Authority Counselor Lasheen Ibrahim declared to Egyptian newspapers that the poll is to begin on Sunday at nine in the morning and be concluded by nine in the evening on Monday. The votes will be cast via the special voting envelopes sent via express mail. He emphasised that no voting will take place at the headquarters of the diplomatic missions and the voters are not allowed to hand over their votes to the missions by themselves because of the global coronavirus pandemic and the precautionary measures put in place worldwide. Such measures would impede voters’ attendance to the embassies.

The press quoted the head of the National Elections Authority who said it was decided the poll for the Senate Council elections would not be taken by Egyptians residing in four countries, including Somalia, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, because of domestic instability.

The Egyptian House of Representatives headed by its Speaker Dr. Ali Abdel-Aal lately approved a law to revive the Shura Council, the upper chamber of the Egyptian parliament, under the name of the senate, according to the constitutional amendment applied by al-Sisi’s regime on the 2014 constitution in 2019.

The second chamber of the House of Representatives has once again been brought into operation after an absence of seven years, but without any authority or jurisdiction as it was decided that the council undertakes only consultative and non-binding duties like studying and suggesting how to consolidate democracy, supporting social peace and the fundamental pillars of the community, and deepening the roots of the democratic system.

Furthermore, the council is to be consulted on the amendment of the constitution’s articles and the bills referred to it by the president or the House of Representatives, as well as on the peace treaties and issues related to sovereign rights.