Egypt goes to the polls
Egyptians will cast their votes today to elect a new legislature amid fears that the elections will be marred by violence and vote buying.
Some 5,120 candidates are in the fray for 508 seats, including 64 women-only seats.
With election campaigning ending at midnight on Friday, security agencies continued a crackdown on Islamists and detained more than 1,000 of them.
Authorities have claimed that the detainees — belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's strongest opposition group — used religious slogans while campaigning for members of the group who are contesting as independents.
On the eve of the election, a Cairo court overturned the telecoms regulator's decision to monitor news feeds on mobile phones, Egypt's official news agency Mena said. The court also cancelled another decision by the telecoms regulator requiring satellite broadcast firms to have a special licence to provide their services to mobile phones.
Ordinary Egyptians, meanwhile, expected that many of the 41 million eligible voters will stay away from polling centres because they say "the result is a forgone conclusion".
"The ruling National Democratic Party will win a vast majority of the seats," said 52-year-old Mohammad Ali, a businessman. "There are people who vote, but a majority will not," he told Gulf News.
"The ruling party will be the biggest winner," Housam, a 35-year-old pharmacist, told Gulf News.
Even the rights groups feel the voter turnout will be low as usual in Egypt, where elections are often marred by violence and ballot fraud.
The government insists the election will be fair and the electoral committee says it granted more than 6,000 permits to local civil society groups to monitor the vote and the ballot counting.
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- Egyptian nuns residing in Lebanon arrive to cast their vote in Egypt's presidential elections at a polling station at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut on May 15, 2014. Egyptian expatriates around the world headed to the polls, casting the first votes to nam