From October through December 2015 at polling stations across the country and abroad, millions of Egyptians exercised their democratic right to vote in parliamentary elections. With significant participation from women, youth and Christians, Egypt elected the most diverse and empowered Parliament in our history:
• Of the 596 seats, 318 are held by independents and 237 are held by party-affiliated members, a significant shift from Egypt’s historical trend of empowering majority powers to govern Parliament.
• Women made extraordinary gains and now hold 87 seats, marking the highest percentage of female parliamentary representation in Egypt’s history. In 2012, the last time a parliament convened, only 1.8 percent of legislators were women. Today it is nearly 15 percent. This impressive progress is attributable in part to the unprecedented number (275) of women who competed for individual candidate seats. Among elected party list candidates, 56 were women, constituting an impressive 47 percent of the field.
• Egypt’s youth made historic advances, with individuals under 35 years old winning nearly 10 percent of total seats contested.
• The ranks of Coptic Christians serving in Parliament also grew considerably, with 24 Copts gaining seats via party list voting, 12 as independent candidates and several others, including three female Copts, taking office through Presidential appointment.