Parliamentary elections set for 28 November

President Hosni Mubarak has announced that elections for the People's Assembly–Egypt's lower house of parliament–will be held on 28 November.

In his presidential decree, Mubarak said the run-off vote will be held on 5 December and the new parliamentary session is scheduled to begin on 13 December.

The election will be held on one day only–instead of the previous three-day period–after recent constitutional amendments abolished full judicial supervision of the election process.

A 2007 constitutional amendment restricted judicial monitors to only the 254 central polling stations. Previously, monitors were assigned to each of the 50,000 stations nationwide.

On Tuesday, Mubarak introduced amendments to the "Political Rights" legislation. However, these amendments failed to respond to several opposition demands.

The amendments do not enable Egyptians to vote using their national identity cards instead of allocated election cards. The opposition claims these election cards are susceptible to forgery.

Mubarak further ignored opposition demands for free and fair elections by enacting amendments that disregard the need for judicial oversight of elections.

The Egyptian opposition has also called for Egyptian expatriates–who total an estimated six million–to cast their votes from abroad. The government has yet to respond to the request.

The amendments Mubarak introduced strictly pertain to the 64-seat quota for female parliamentarians–which will raise the total number of seats in parliament from 454 to 518.

Registered opposition parties previously conditioned their participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections on the amendment of certain articles of the political rights law–that have largely not taken effect.

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