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Egypt's Morsi calls parliamentary elections

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi seen here at the presidential palace in Cairo, Oct. 8, 2012.
Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi seen here at the presidential palace in Cairo, Oct. 8, 2012.Amr Dalsh / Reuters / REUTERS

CAIRO -- Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi announced late Thursday the dates for the country's parliamentary elections. These would be the first elections since he became president and the first under the country's controversial Constitution, which was approved in December.

The elections will take place in four stages, with each stage taking place over two days starting on April 26-27. The final stage will be held June 19-20.

The first session of the soon-to-be-elected House of Representatives will begin on July 6.

Egypt has been without a House of Representatives since a court dissolved the previous lower house. Legislative powers are currently divided between Morsi and the Upper House of Parliament, also known as the Shura Council. Constitutionally, only the lower house is allowed to make laws, which speaks to the significance of Morsi's election timetable announcement. Many have been pressing him to do so in recent weeks.

The country's opposition has vowed to boycott the upcoming elections, citing shortcomings and flaws in the draft electoral law that was being circulated. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party says it will compete for an all-out majority of the seats and would not form any political alliances in fielding candidates with other parties. Many fear this is an attempt by the group to control both the legislative and executive branches of government by excluding other parties.