Egypt starts voting in first stage of parliament elections
The elections will be held in two phases, with the first covering 14 provinces on Saturday and Sunday. The second, on November 7-8.
CAIRO - Some 63 million voters out of Egypt's more than 100 million people are eligible to elect 568 of the 596 lawmakers in the lower house, widely seen as a rubber-stamp body for executive policies.
The remaining deputies will be appointed by former army general-turned-president Sisi, whose government has over the past six years silenced any serious political opposition to its rule.
The elections will be held in two phases, with the first covering 14 provinces on Saturday and Sunday. The second, on November 7-8, will cover 13 provinces including the capital Cairo.
On Saturday morning, mini-buses were seen driving around parts of Giza province, south of Cairo, bearing photos and banners of some candidates to draw support as voters trickled into polling stations, an AFP reporter said.
Giant billboards and banners have sprung up across the bustling capital Cairo and elsewhere urging Egyptians to vote, while some candidates have released online music video clips to draw support.
Many of the candidates also stood for election five years ago in a political landscape marked by the presence of dozens of parties but with little weight and influence on the ground.
The outgoing parliament, elected in 2015, was packed with Sisi supporters and featured only a small opposition bloc known as 25/30.
The new parliament will be the second to convene under Sisi, who took office in 2014 after leading the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Run-offs will be held in November, and final results are to be announced in December.