A long-awaited election for a new parliament in Egypt opened on Sunday. The new parliament appears to have broad powers.
This is the first such elections since the previous chamber was dissolved by a court ruling in 2012.
The critics say most candidates are the supporters of President Abdul Fattah al – Sisi and the new parliament is likely to strengthen his control. Sisi has crushed all opposition since ousting his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.
More than 27 million people across 14 of Egypt’s 27 provinces eligible to vote on Sunday and Monday in the first phase and the remaining areas going to polls in early December. Egyptians living abroad had the chance to vote on Saturday.
Voters are choosing 596 MPs for the lower house, the House of Representatives. Tight security has been followed across the country with at least 185,000 troops supporting police.
Sissi won election four months later after the constitution was formed in January 2014.
Mr Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, won about half the seats in the last parliament but is now banned and labeled as a terrorist organization and some are facing death sentences.