Elections for Egypt’s lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives, will begin in April and take place over four stages with the House finally convening in July.
President Mohamed Morsi formally announced the elections Thursday night after Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy presented him with the elections law passed by the upper house of parliament.
The first stage will take place on 27 and 28 April with runoff rounds scheduled for 4 and 5 May if needed. The first stage will take place in the Cairo, Beheira, Minya, Port Said, and North Sinai governorates.
Giza, Alexandria, Sohag, Beni Suef, Aswan, Suez, Red Sea, and New Valley governorates will elect their representatives on 15 and 16 May with runoffs scheduled for 22 and 23 May.
The third stage will encompass Daqahleya, Qaliubiya, Menufiya, Qena, Domietta, Luxor, Matruh, and South Sinai and will take place on 2 and 3 June with runoffs on 9 and 10 June.
Finally the governorates of Sharqeya, Gharbeya, Assiut, Kafr El-Sheikh, Fayoum, and Ismailia will elect representatives on 19 and 20 June with runoffs on 26 and 27 June.
Morsi has scheduled the House of Representatives first session for 11 am on July 6.
The Shura Council passed the elections law after adopted changes suggested by the Supreme Constitutional Court. The court, which is empowered by the new constitution to review the elections law before adoption, had declared five articles of the draft law unconstitutional and suggested amendments accordingly.
Changes included banning members of parliament from changing their party affiliation or changing their classification from or to workers and farmers after being elected.
The council also reallocated districts which resulted in an increase of representative seats for Cairo and Alexandria among other governorates.
Several prominent Coptic Christian figures, including telecom tycoon Naguib Sawiris, expressed offence at their being voting scheduled both on Palm Sunday and Easter.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called on Morsi to postpone elections.
“Morsi’s decision to go for parliamentary elections amidst severe societal polarisation and eroding state authority is a recipe for disaster,” the Nobel laureate stated on his Twitter.