First phase of parliamentary elections in Egypt

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By Guido Dante Luppino / Source Rebelion.org / The Dawn / October 28, 2015

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On the weekend of October 18th, parliamentary elections in Egypt finally took place. The elections will be carried out in two parts, the first of which already started first in 14 provinces, and then it will take place in the remaining provinces, between November 21st and December 2nd. After both phases, the final results will be known.

Almost without opposition, erased from the game by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the elections seem to be a only one step further for the President to ensure his power in government.

Al-Sisi has governed since 2013, when he took power in a coup backed by the U.S.. But changes began with the Arab Spring, after the popular uprising succeeded in ousting Mubarak, who had ruled the country for 30 years. Following this, in July 2012, elections were called for the first time, resulting in the winning of candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi.

 

The government, which had an Islamic background, lasted less than a year in power. The army managed, along with the political support of the US and NATO, to depose Morsi, in order to allow the chief of the Egyptian army, al-Sisi, to take the power. After a year of de facto government, in 2014 elections were called again, with a highly questionable situation, full of allegations of fraud and low turnout, to legitimize the president in power. The result was as expected: al-Sisi won by a large margin against his few opponents.

In this opportunity, Parliamentary elections were called. A new worthless electoral act for civil society, as the opposition was completely wiped off the political level, and from the 5,000 candidates running, the vast majority support the figure of the current president.

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With the party of the Muslim Brotherhood branded as terrorist and banned and former President Morsi condemned to death, elections appear to be a mere formality for the President. The main coalition called “For the Love of Egypt”, is pro-Sisi, and is conformed by industrialists and former members of Mubarak’s party, the National Democratic Party. The goal is to obtain two thirds of the seats to govern with a majority a Parliament that consists in 596 members.

 

But the highlight of the opening day was the low percentage of turnout at the polls. Of the 27 million citizens able to vote in the first round, it is estimated that only about 3% attended the polls on the first day. We are in the presence of a historical event, something that didn’t even occur in Mubarak’s time. Even though the following day more voters attended the polls, the percentage remains very low, barely reaching 16% of the total amount registered.

 

Surely the president will get parliamentary majority, but the low number of voters is the most powerful symbol of social rejection towards the government.

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