Egypt loyalists take the lead in parliament elections

October 21, 2015 23:25
1 minute read.

CAIRO - A political alliance loyal to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has scooped all 60 list seats up for grabs in the first round of a parliamentary election in which opposition parties were all but absent, official results showed on Wednesday.

The initial round of voting for what will be Egypt's first parliament in three years was held on Sunday and Monday, with turnout at just over a quarter of the electorate and images of empty polling stations splashed across local media.

The vote has been hailed by Sisi as the final step in a political transition that is meant to lead Egypt to democracy but critics say it has been undermined by widespread repression.

The main opposition Muslim Brotherhood, which won almost half the seats in 2011-12, has been banned and declared a terrorist group. Thousands of its members are behind bars and its supporters boycotted the vote.

A list of socialist and liberal parties which would have therefore presented the main opposition choice on ballot papers eventually withdrew, leaving the field dominated by Sisi supporters, former apparatchiks of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, provincial notables and wealthy businessmen.

The High Election Committee announced a turnout of 26.56 percent over the two days, lower than the 2014 presidential election won by former military chief Sisi and much lower than the 2011-12 parliamentary election held just months after a popular uprising ended Mubarak's 30-year rule.

The new parliament will comprise 568 members - 448 elected on an individual basis and 120 through winner-takes-all lists.

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