Egypt to hold inaugural parliamentary elections in August

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Egypt's parliament members

Egypt will hold inaugural elections for a new second parliamentary chamber on Aug. 11-12, election commissioner Lasheen Ibrahim has said.

Amendments made to Egypt’s constitution last year provided for the creation of the Council of Senators, a 300-member secondary chamber that will be two-thirds elected by the public and the remainder appointed by the president.

“Holding elections during the pandemic that has swept the world necessitates that we take several precautionary measures to protect ourselves and society,” Ibrahim said during a televised press conference.

He said all polling stations will observe health guidelines, with all voters and polling staff required to wear masks, and social distancing measures will be enforced.

Egypt reported 1,485 new cases of coronavirus on Friday bringing the total number of infections to 72,711, including 3,201 deaths.

The poll results will be announced on Aug. 19 in the official state gazette, Ibrahim said.

A bomb explosion at a restaurant in the southern Somali town of Baidoa has killed six people, officials have told the BBC.

There has also been a suicide bomb attack close to the port of the capital, Mogadishu, which injured at least seven.

Militant group al-Shabab said it was behind both incidents.

The UN-backed government has been battling against al-Shabab for control of the country for more than a decade.

Who are Somalia’s al-Shabab?
The militants, who are allied to al-Qaeda, said that in Baidoa they were targeting tax collectors, who were holding a meeting at the restaurant, and soldiers.

They added that two soldiers died in the attack but officials said the victims were all civilians.

Al-Shabab said it was behind both the attack in Mogadishu (pictured) and in Baidoa
Police told the BBC that in Mogadishu officers opened fire on a vehicle after it failed to stop at a checkpoint.

The suicide bomber driving the car is said to have tried to hit a police post in front of the port but the security forces shot him and the vehicle exploded.

Two police officers and five passers-by were wounded.

“Metal debris fell all over us inside the port and we heard gunfire,” a port worker told Reuters.