Egypt votes as opposition boycotts

Egyptian supporters of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi line up to cast their votes for parliamentary elections as opposition boycott continues

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Egyptians women wait to cast their votes in the Egyptian parliamentary elections outside a polling station in Alexandria, Egypt, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

Updated Oct 19, 2015

Egyptians are currently busy voting for the parliamentary elections which is expected to strongly endorse President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, who has eliminated most of his opposition since the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The much-delayed vote for the 596-member parliament is arranged to take place in two phases between October 17 and December 2.

More than 27 million people across 14 of Egypt's 27 provinces are eligible to vote on Sunday and Monday in the first phase.

Analysts have reported that many of the more than 5,000 candidates in the polls who are expected to dominate the parliament, strongly support Sisi.

"If lawmakers wanted to, they could install a certain balance," said Youssri al-Azabawi, expert at the Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

"But, in view of Sisi's popularity, it won't happen. The president will maintain considerable powers."

Political analyst Hazem Hosni said, "it's really a parliament that is not expected to be revolutionary or reformist."

An Egyptian voter casts his ballot at a polling station during the first round of parliamentary elections, in Giza, Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

The constitution provides full authority to the parliament to move a motion of no confidence against the president and also give the politicians an ability to review all presidential decrees within a duration of 15 days.

However, the current ongoing vote lacks any real opposition as the Muslim Brotherhood movement, that dominated the previous assembly, has been banned.

And it has not inspired any of the enthusiasm that was seen during the first post-Mubarak polls in 2011, since the leftist and secular movements - those who led the 2011 uprising - are boycotting the polls for poor representation.

'Celebration of democracy'

Sisi appeared on television calling Egypt’s citizens to be involved in the voting, while Egyptians residing abroad began casting their ballots on Saturday.

"Celebrate the choice of representatives and make the right choice," he said.

"I am expecting Egyptian youth to be the driving force in this celebration of democracy."

An Egyptian woman living abroad casts her vote during the first stage of Egypt's parliamentary election at the Egyptian consulate in Dubai, October 17, 2015.

Following Sisi’s toppling of former president Morsi, Sisi issued a crackdown targeting the Muslim Brotherhood movement, leading to at least 1,400 dead and tens of thousands locked away.

Hundreds of prisoners, including Morsi himself, have been sentenced to death following mass trials which the United Nations denounced as "unprecedented in recent history."

Many Egyptians, exhausted by the political turmoil in their country for the past four years, have shown immense support and allegiance to Sisi who has vowed to revive Egypt’s crippling economy and recover stability and security in the nation.

TRTWorld and agencies