Egyptians begin voting in an election likely to give Sisi third term

Monday, December 11th, 2023 06:49 | By
Egyptians begin voting in an election likely to give Sisi third term
Some 67 million people are eligible to vote.

Polling stations opened Sunday for Egyptians to vote in a presidential election overshadowed by war in neighbouring Gaza and with little doubt that the incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will secure a third term.

In a country gripped by the most severe financial crisis in its recent history—inflation has hovered near 40 per cent after the currency lost half its value and drove up the cost of imports—the economy is the crux of Egyptians’ concerns.

Even before the current crisis, about two-thirds of the country’s nearly 106 million people were living on or below the poverty line

Before polls opened at 9am (0700 GMT), dozens of voters had already crowded in front of a polling station in a central Cairo school amidst heavy security, an AFP correspondent reported.

Voting will take place from Sunday until Tuesday, between 9am and 9pm (0700-1900 GMT) each day, with the official results announced on December 18.

In front of the Cairo polling station, posters bore messages to “get out and participate” while a DJ played nationalist songs.

Some 67 million people are eligible to vote, and all eyes will be on turnout after successive previous elections mustered low participation figures.

Despite Egypt’s afflictions, a decade-long crackdown on dissent has eliminated any serious opposition to Sisi, the fifth president to emerge from within the ranks of the military since 1952.

Under his rule, Egypt has jailed thousands of political prisoners, and while a presidential pardons committee has freed around 1,000 in one year, rights groups say that three to four times that many were arrested over the same time period.

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