Egyptians vote in 2nd round of parliamentary poll

Egyptians returned to polling stations Tuesday as a run-off for the first round of a parliamentary election began in a vote expected to elect lawmakers firmly backing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Turnout for the first round of voting held in 14 of Egypt’s 27 provinces last week was just 26.6 percent and there was no immediate indication that more voters were casting their ballots Tuesday.
One polling station in the capital’s central district of Dokki saw 20 people vote in the hour after polling opened at 9:00 am (0700 GMT), a polling officer said.
The previous general election held in late 2011, months after the ouster of long-time leader Hosni Mubarak, aroused widespread interest in a country that was caught in a revolutionary fervour at that time.
The first round of that vote saw a turnout of 62 per cent.
Brutal crackdown
The subsequent parliament, dominated by Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood, was dissolved in June 2012, days before the election of Islamist Mohamed Morsy as the country’s first freely elected civilian leader.
Mr Morsy was deposed a year later by then army chief General Sisi after mass street protests against his sole year in power.
General Sisi himself was elected president in May 2014 after he brutally crushed all forms of opposition — Islamist supporters of the Brotherhood as well as several secularists and leftists.
The current election is widely anticipated to vote in lawmakers firmly backing President Sisi in the absence of any opposition.
While the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s main opposition group for decades, has been banned from contesting after it was declared a “terrorist group,” several secular groups are either boycotting the vote or are badly represented.
The two-round election ends on December 2.