Egypt to hold first round of parliamentary elections

The first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections will be held today and tomorrow. The term of the current parliament, elected

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Photo: Reuters

The first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections will be held today and tomorrow. The term of the current parliament, elected in 2015, will come to an end in January 2021.

Despite being Egypt’s primary legislative body, critics have denounced its much reduced role in decision-making after the 2013 military coup. Since then, former general and incumbent President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has launched crackdowns against Islamist political parties—like the Muslim Brotherhood—as well as activists and journalists, eroding many of the freedoms won with the 2011 revolution. Consequently, this ballot will take place in the absence of any opposition, which is repressed and in fear of reprisals.

Al-Sisi’s policies have led to economic achievements, although the benefits have been unevenly spread among the rapidly growing population. More than a third of Egyptians live on less than $1.50 a day and their situation has not improved with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislative elections are widely expected to see the pro-government coalition re-elected to the chamber, meaning parliament will continue to serve as the president’s rubber-stamp. However, the government will have to do more to maintain social peace if it wants to avoid social protest and further use of authoritarian measures.