Despite the hype, Egypt's first parliamentary election under Sisi won't bring much change

Published October 17th, 2015 - 08:18 GMT
Polls for Egyptian expats just opened in the country's first parliamentary election under President Sisi, but a closer look at the parties running shows the president shouldn't face much opposition. (AFP/FIle)
Polls for Egyptian expats just opened in the country's first parliamentary election under President Sisi, but a closer look at the parties running shows the president shouldn't face much opposition. (AFP/FIle)

Egyptian parliamentary election polls opened for Egyptians living abroad on Saturday, marking the final phase of the country's "roadmap to democracy." This will be the first parliament to form since Morsi was overthrown in 2013, and the constitution grants the government body the power to review all of the many laws passed under president Sisi.

This could be game-changing for Egypt, at least in theory—earlier this year, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi himself said the body would "assume a very important and grave responsibility.” But in reality, this election is expected to be ultimately inconsequential.

Just about everyone running supports Sisi. The major coalitions include For the Love of Egypt, believed to be favored by Sisi; the Egyptian Front Coalition, strongly anti-Brotherhood and led by Mobarak's former Prime Minister; and the pro-June 30 Revolution alliance known as the Call of Egypt, which also supports Sisi. Many of the independent candidates are wealthy businessmen with close ties to the president. Even the ultra-conservative Islamist Al-Nour Party has expressed their support and has partnered with him to oppose terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed as a "terrorist group" and tens of thousands of leaders and supporters are now in prison. Several other opposition parties are boycotting the election out of the picture as well. Critics warn the only opposition remaining will likely be minimal and moderate, meaning Sisi should have no problem continuing to rule exactly as he likes.

By Allison Beeman


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