Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Egypt's electoral commission announced on Sunday that legislative elections, the first since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office, will take place in several phases starting 17 October, thus ending the country’s long process of returning to democracy.
For critics, the process of bringing back democracy has been tainted by widespread repression and a failure to uphold the rule of law. However, the past two years have seen Sisi give new impetus to the economy (the inauguration of the new Suez Canal) and restore security and legality by way of special anti-terrorism laws.
Voting for Egyptians abroad will take place on 17-18 October. A second round of voting in the two-phase election will take place on 22-23 November, followed by runoffs on November 30, December 1 and 2.
Egypt’s House of Representatives is made up of 568 seats, 448 seats elected through the individual candidacy system and 120 through winner-takes-all lists, with quotas for women, Christians and youth. The president may also appoint a number of people to the house, not exceeding 5 percent of its makeup.
Analysts say the polls, with Sisi loyalists heavily favoured to emerge the big winners, will serve to appease Egypt's backers in the West who see the president as a rampart against jihadist violence despite concerns over repression that has eliminated any meaningful opposition.
The poll had initially been scheduled for early 2014 but was delayed on legal grounds amid charges from rights groups of repressive measures during a crackdown on the Islamist opposition.
The constitutional court dissolved the previous Islamist-dominated parliament, which was elected after the 2011 uprising that forced long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak from power.
After the military coup, a new constitution was adopted in January 2014 and Sisi was elected president in May the same year. A new parliament should be in place by the end of this year.