Morsi Sets Egyptian Elections For April

President Mohamed Morsi has set Egypt’s parliamentary elections that will begin on April 27 and end in late June. The election involved a four-stage vote that Morsi hopes will conclude Egypt’s transition to democracy.

The vote will take place in the country that is still deeply divided between the Islamist parties in control and a more secular-minded opposition that has struggled to stay organized.

Morsi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, hopes that parliament’s election will help stabilize Egypt so that the country’s economy can finally start to recover, reports The Guardian.

After elections, the new parliament will convene on July 6. The announcement was made in a decree issued by Morsi on Thursday night. Morsi is required to get parliament’s approval for his choice of prime minister, giving the body more power than it had under the previous government of Hosni Mubarak.

Each stage of the upcoming elections will comprise an initial two days of voting. That will be followed by two days of voting for runoffs if there are closely-contested seats.

Divisions in Egypt have grown since the 2011 ouster of Mubarak and his regime, notes The Seattle Times. But Morsi’s government has seen similar protests, especially after the Egyptian president issued decrees in December that gave him almost universal power.

Morsi rescinded the decrees, but the people of Egypt have continued to protest. The most recent unrest came in Port Said as a protest moved into its sixth day.

The previous elected parliament was dissolved last June by a court order. The move caused protests for days. Mohamed Morsi was elected in July. The court ruled that the law used to elect the original parliament was unconstitutional. The constitutional court has since changed the electoral law, which the Shura council accepted.

The new law will keep members of parliament from changing their political affiliation once elected. The law also requires one third of the lower house to be designated for independents. It also bans former members of Mubarak’s party from participating in politics for 10 years.