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Al-Sissi loyalists expected to dominate final stage of Egypt polls

Egyptians were voting on Saturday in the second and final stage of legislative election expected to produce a parliament dominated by loyalists of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.

The National List, a political alliance led by the pro-al-Sissi Nation’s Future Party, won 142 of the 284 seats up for grabs in the first phase of the polls, which was held late last month in 14 of Egypt’s 27 provinces.

The second stage is being held over two consecutive days in the 13 remaining provinces, including Cairo, determining the remaining 284 seats.

More than 4,500 candidates have registered on one of three party alliance lists or as independents in both stages of the election. The majority are broadly understood as backers of al-Sissi.

The assembly has a total of 596 seats, including 28 members who will be named by al-Sissi.

Though a dpa reporter did not see long lines forming outside of polling stations in Cairo, an electoral official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said higher voter turnout was expected later on Saturday, which is a weekend in Egypt.

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Pro-government media reported strong turnout in several provinces where voting was under way.
A commission in charge of the election process said polling was going smoothly, but did not give turnout figures.

Around 30 million voters are eligible to cast ballots at polling stations in the second phase of the election.
Voter turnout in the first phase stood at 28.06 per cent, according to electoral authorities.

Al-Sissi, who has been in office since 2014, cast his ballot in a polling station in Cairo’s Helipolis district, according to presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.

“We want a parliament that will back the president in his great efforts to change Egypt for the better,” Yasser al-Sawy, a 56-year-old voter said at a polling station in Cairo.

Yasser, a 33-year-old casual labourer who did not give his last name, said he was voting to avoid a fine.
The electoral commission has repeatedly vowed to enforce a law penalizing non-voters with a fine of up to 500 Egyptian pounds (31.8 dollars) in a bid to drive more people to cast their ballots.

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In response to low turnout in a Senate race in August, the commission prosecute about 54 million people who did not vote, but no trials have followed.

Final official results of the vote are not expected until mid-December.

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