Egyptians continue voting today in the final phase of elections aimed at restoring parliament after a three-year gap. It is being conducted in 13 provinces including the capital Cairo and North and South Sinai
More than 2000 candidates are competing in the poll to fill the 568 seats, from 596 as total number of seats in this parliament, where the Constitution gives the Egyptian President the right to appoint the remaining 28 members.
Sunday and Monday’s vote follows a poor turnout in the first phase in October with critics complaining of little choice. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is banned and socialist and liberal parties have withdrawn leaving the field dominated by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi supporters.
One woman said she had come to vote for the sake of the country: “ I’m here for the future of young people, and to live in security and stability, I hope that our country does not collapse and will remain strong”
“I hope that this parliament will be different from previous parliaments, and I hope that we achieve positive change in our country through cooperation of all levels in our society and to be happy community, said another voter.
The elections have been hailed by the president as a milestone in the army’s road map to democracy, but others say they have been undermined by widespread repression.
Egypt’s last parliament was elected in 2011-12, in the first election after the popular uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
Voting back then was marked by long queues and youthful excitement. The Muslim Brotherhood, long the country’s main opposition movement, won about half the seats.
A court dissolved that parliament in mid-2012. A year later, Sisi, then military chief, removed President Mohamed Mursi of the Brotherhood from power after mass protests against his rule.
Euronews correspondent Mohammed Shaikhibrahim said:
“There are many challenges facing the next parliament, the most prominent is eradication of hunger and poverty and the deterioration of basic services to Egyptian citizens, who are still waiting to realise the goals of their revolution which they started around four years ago.”