Egypt has commenced voting to elect new parliament. The parliamentary elections will stretch over several weeks.
A first round of voting will end on Sunday, with a second round on Nov. 7-8. Run-offs will take place in late November and early December, Reuters reports.
The polls are being held under a new electoral law under which 50% of 568 contested seats will be allocated to pre-selected lists, a system critics say benefits Sisi’s backers.
The remaining contested seats will be allocated to individual candidates, and Sisi can appoint up to 28 legislators directly.
Mostaqbal Watn (Nation’s Future), which in August won nearly three-quarters of the contested seats in an election for Egypt’s Senate, an advisory body, is the favorite to come out top.
Sisi has overseen a sweeping crackdown on political dissent since leading the ouster in 2013 of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, who was freely elected in 2012 before mass protests engulfed his rule.
Both Islamists and liberal opponents have been targeted.
Supporters say the measures have been necessary to stabilize the country and carry out economic reforms that have won praise from many economists and international financial institutions.
As Sisi has consolidated control, interest in politics has dropped, with electoral turnout gradually declining.