Egypt turnout 21.7% in first round run-off

The election is expected to elect lawmakers firmly backing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

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The first round run-off in Egypt’s parliamentary election produced a turnout of 21.7 percent, officials announced Friday, reflecting disinterest in a vote held in the absence of any strong opposition.

The tally for voting Tuesday and Wednesday, announced by the electoral commission, was even lower than the 26.6 percent for the first round ballot contested on October 18-19 in half of Egypt’s provinces.

The election is expected to elect lawmakers firmly backing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Egypt’s last general election was held in 2011 at a time of widespread enthusiasm, months after the ouster of longtime president Hosni Mubarak, and the first round saw turnout of 62 percent.

The resulting Islamist-dominated parliament was dissolved in June 2012, days before Islamist Mohamed Morsi became the country’s first freely elected president.

Morsi was deposed a year later by then army chief Sisi after mass street protests.

Sisi was elected to succeed him in 2014 after brutally crushing all forms of opposition -- Islamist supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as secularists and leftists.

The Brotherhood, for decades the country’s main opposition group, has been blacklisted as a terrorist group and banned from competing, while several secular parties are either boycotting the latest polls or are badly represented.

The second round across Egypt’s 13 remaining provinces will be held on November 22-23 and a run-off, if necessary, on December 1-2.

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