An Egyptian woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Cairo
An Egyptian woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Cairo's Zamalek neighbourhood.
PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images

Story highlights

NEW: Voters in 13 governorates cast ballots for the upper house of parliament

The election comes after the Muslim Brotherhood dominates the lower house poll

The full parliament must appoint a 100-member panel to write a new constitution

Egypt's military retains much of the decision-making power

(CNN) —  

Egyptians in Cairo and several cities headed to the polls Sunday in the first stage of elections for the upper house of parliament.

Voters will cast ballots for the Shura council over different days, starting with 13 governorates that include Cairo and Alexandria, state media reported.

The election comes after the Muslim Brotherhood dominated the lower house poll in Egypt’s first election since protesters toppled former President Hosni Mubarak last year following decades of authoritarian rule.

In the lower house parliamentary elections, Islamist parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood performed more strongly than the liberal parties representing some protesters.

Two Islamist parties won about 70% of the seats in the lower house of parliament poll, according to electoral commission figures.

Earlier this month, Egypt’s military rulers said they handed legislative powers to the lower house, marking the first parliament in the country’s history to be dominated by Islamists.

But the country’s influential military, which stepped into the vacuum as Mubarak teetered last year, retains much of the decision-making power and has said it will continue to until a new government is in place.

The full parliament must appoint a 100-member panel to write a new constitution.

Egypt’s revolution last year came on the heels of Tunisia’s revolt that led to the ouster of that country’s leader in January 2011. Since then, protests against longtime rulers swept across North Africa and the Middle East, including uprisings in Libya, Yemen and Syria.

It came on the heels of Tunisia’s revolt that led to the ouster of that country’s leader in January 2011. Since then, protests against longtime rulers swept across North Africa and the Middle East, including uprisings in Libya, Yemen and Syria.

The ailing Mubarak is on trial on charges of corruption and ordering the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the clashes last year that led to his downfall. He has denied the charges.

He has denied the charges.

CNN’s Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report