Egypt Parliamentary Poll Expected to Bolster Sissi

December 03,2015

CAIRO— Egypt wrapped up its parliamentary election Wednesday, and results are expected to show a win for supporters of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Some analysts, however, say widespread low turnout, reports of vote buying and other irregularities could later be used as reasons to dissolve the lawmaking body.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi was not running for anything in this election, but he is expected to emerge the winner, with a body of legislators who will support him and the roughly 200 laws he has passed by decree.

Despite low turnout, election workers say they are excited because the country has been without a parliament for about three years.

“I love my homeland. I love Egypt. I hope the right candidate will win. I hope all the candidates will win, including myself,” said Jihan Saeed, an election worker in the capital, Cairo.

Some observers said Egypt’s elections were marred by vote buying, officials directing voters as well as marked by turnout that appeared to be the lowest since before the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

"Some of the candidates are trying to win votes with bribes, and it is changing which candidates they are voting for,” said lawyer Sameh Eldeep.

Other observers said vote buying in Egypt is so common these days, it functions like a large business.

"Buying votes has become like the stock market. The morning opens with one price and in the afternoon it's a higher price. The highest prices are just before the polling stations close,” said Essam Azmy, an election monitor.

Egypt’s last parliament was dissolved in 2012 and observers say the irregularities at the polls could later be used to break up the nearly 600-member body.

The incoming parliament is the first elected since the adoption last year of a new constitution that empowers lawmakers to impeach a president or call for early elections.

The new parliament is expected to start work next month.