Reuters – Egyptians voted on Sunday in the second phase of elections that are meant to restore parliament after a more than three-year hiatus.
The elections have been hailed by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as a milestone on the army’s roadmap to democracy but voter turnout has been low, with only a quarter of the electorate casting ballots in the first phase on Oct. 18-19.
Sisi supporters won a landslide in the first leg and are expected to repeat their performance on Sunday and Monday when voting takes place in the capital Cairo and 12 other provinces.
Sisi cast his ballot at a girls school in Cairo soon after voting opened at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT).
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.
The new parliament will contain 568 elected members — 448 elected on an individual basis and 120 through winner-takes-all lists. Sisi may appoint up to a further 28 lawmakers.
On Sunday and Monday, candidates will be vying for 222 individual seats and 60 list seats.
“For the Love of Egypt,” a loyalist electoral alliance led by former intelligence officer Sameh Seif Elyazal, won all 60 list-based seats contested in the first round, which covered Egypt’s second city of Alexandria, the province of Giza, which includes parts of Cairo west of the Nile, and 12 other provinces.
A list of socialist and liberal parties which would have presented the main opposition choice eventually withdrew, leaving the field dominated by Sisi supporters, Mubarak-era figures, provincial notables and businessmen.
These figures performed well in round one.
The lack of interest in voting reflects disillusionment with politics but also voter fatigue after a turbulent few years.
Egyptians have participated in two presidential elections, two parliamentary elections and three constitutional referendums since the 2011 uprising. Polls often drag out over several weeks with different rounds and run-offs draining them of momentum.
“Zamalek is so empty because all the schools are closed; traffic is great. I wish we had elections here all the time,” said Ahmed Abbassi, 44, electrician in his shop.