Egypt begins voting for new Parliament

A first round of voting will end on Oct 25, with a second round on Nov 7-8, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO (REUTERS) - Polls opened in Egypt on Saturday (Oct 24) for parliamentary elections that will stretch over several weeks and are set to be dominated by supporters of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

A first round of voting will end on Sunday, with a second round on Nov 7-8. Run-offs will take place in late November and early December.

The polls are being held under a new electoral law under which 50 per cent of 568 contested seats will be allocated to pre-selected lists, a system critics say benefits Mr Sisi's backers.

The remaining contested seats will be allocated to individual candidates, and Mr Sisi can appoint up to 28 legislators directly.

Mostaqbal Watn (Nation's Future), which in August won nearly three-quarters of the contested seats in an election for Egypt's Senate, an advisory body, is the favourite to come out top.

Mr Sisi has overseen a sweeping crackdown on political dissent since leading the ouster in 2013 of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi, who was freely elected in 2012 before mass protests engulfed his rule.

Both Islamists and liberal opponents have been targeted.

Supporters say the measures have been necessary to stabilise the country and carry out economic reforms that have won praise from many economists and international financial institutions.

As Mr Sisi has consolidated control, interest in politics has dropped, with electoral turnout gradually declining.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.