Voting begins in Egypt parliamentary elections
People in Egypt have gone to the polling stations to elect the first parliament since the 2013 ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically-elected president.
The first round of voting started on Sunday in 14 provinces and will continue on Monday.
Egyptians living abroad began casting ballots on Saturday and have time to take part in the elections on Sunday.
Thirteen other provinces would vote on November 22-23 for the 596-seat parliament, with the results to be announced in early December.
In July 2013, the then head of the armed forces and current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, led the military coup that toppled Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood was later blacklisted as a terrorist organization.
Analysts and observers do not expect a high voter turnout in the parliamentary elections in the absence of opposition parties despite Sisi’s call on people to participate in the vote.
“Line up in front of polling stations and plant with your votes the hope for a bright tomorrow for our new Egypt,” the military-backed Egyptian president said in a televised speech on Saturday.
Most of over 5,000 candidates in the elections are Sisi’s supporters and are expected to dominate parliament and back the policies of the president.
“This parliament will be a parliament of the president,” said Hazem Hosny, a political science professor at Cairo University, adding, “It’s really a parliament… to keep things as they are, to give an image of democracy.”
The military-backed government in Cairo has been engaged in a heavy-handed crackdown on the supporters of Morsi and the Brotherhood since the summer of 2013. The clampdown has led to the death of more than 1,400 people and the arrest of 22,000 others.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue to stage protests in different parts of Egypt to condemn what they call the illegal ouster of Morsi and the heavy-handed crackdown.