Voting starts in Daqahlia to find MP Okasha’s replacement

Elections start in Daqahlia governorate on Saturday for the seat of former MP Tawfiq Okasha, whose membership of parliament was cancelled last month after his controversial and unauthorized meeting with the outgoing Israeli ambassador.

Voting is taking place in 174 polling stations in the cities of Talkha and Nabaroh, with 16 candidates running for the seat, according to the High Elections Commission. An estimated 412,507 people registered to vote in Talkha and Nabaroh.

Votes will also be cast at 139 Egyptian diplomatic missions abroad, with polling stations there open since Friday. Run-offs will take place on April 26-27.

Daqahliya province is represented by 29 MPs distributed among 11 districts. Aside from Okasha, the cities of Talkha and Nabaroh are represented by two other MPs, independents Bassam Fleifal and Fouad Badrawy.

In March, Okasha was removed from his seat in parliament after a vote by MPs, with 465 voting against him.

The outspoken MP had hosted Israeli Ambassador Haim Koren for dinner at his home, having declared his intention of discussing important strategic matters, including Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam project.

The dinner meeting prompted furious reactions in the media and from other MPs, with fellow MP Kamal Ahmed attacking Okasha in parliament with a shoe.

Following an parliamentary investigation, Okasha's membership was put to a vote that ended his career as a lawmaker.

Edited translation from Aswat Masriya

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