Voting begins in Egypt polls

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Egyptians residing abroad began casting votes Saturday in the country’s first parliamentary election since the 2013 military overthrow of President Muhammad Mursi.
Egypt’s state-run news wire MENA said embassies and consulates in 139 countries will be open for two days of voting.
The vote is staggered, with polling in half of Egypt’s governorates set to start Sunday. The election will take place in two phases, concluding in early December.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called on Egyptians to vote in a televised speech Saturday.
“Line up in front of polling stations and plant with your votes the hope for a bright tomorrow for our new Egypt,” he said.
Voting will go forward in Egypt under heavy security, in light of regular militant attacks since Mursi’s ouster. At least 185,000 military troops will secure the election in the first phase, MENA reported. Interior Ministry spokesman Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim says they will be joined by 180,000 police.
Few candidates have broad recognition or clear platforms, and most have a pro-government bent.
The vote will mark the final step in what has been billed as a transition to democracy. Virtually the entire media is supportive of El-Sissi and regularly berates critics as traitors or supporters of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has been without a Parliament since it was dissolved by a court ruling in 2012.
The 2011 election, held after the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, saw candidates from across the political spectrum vying for seats.

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