Egyptians on Sunday began voting in the nation’s first parliamentary election since the military’s 2013 ouster of Egypt’s first freely elected president and the election a year later of the general who removed him.
Egyptians residing abroad began voting Saturday and will continue Sunday, the first of two days of voting in 15 provinces, including Cairo’s twin city of Giza and the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. About 27 of Egypt’s registered 54 million voters reside in the 15 provinces where voting is taking place Sunday.
Voting in Egypt’s 13 other provinces, including the capital Cairo, will be on Nov. 22-23. Each stage of the staggered vote will be followed by a runoff.
Final results for the 596-seat parliament will be announced in early December.
Many analysts and observers expect a low turnout despite President Abdel-Fattah’s el-Sissi’s impassioned call Saturday on Egyptians to come out and vote.
“Line up in front of polling stations and plant with your votes the hope for a bright tomorrow for our new Egypt,” said the soldier-turned-president in a televised address.
The legislature is widely expected to support the policies of el-Sissi, who is struggling to revive an ailing economy and crush an Islamic insurgency while silencing domestic opposition and carving a high-profile role for Egypt in a turbulent Middle East.