Egyptians Commence Vote In Presidential Poll

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Polling stations began operation on Sunday for Egyptians to vote in a long awaited presidential poll which was initially halted by war in neighbouring Gaza.

It was gathered that inflation has hovered near 40 percent after the currency lost half its value and drove up the cost of imports — the economy is the crux of Egyptians’ concerns.

Even before the current crisis, about two-thirds of the country’s nearly 106 million people were living on or below the poverty line

Before polls opened at 09:00 am (0700 GMT), dozens of voters had already crowded in front of a polling station in a central Cairo school amidst heavy security, an AFP correspondent reported.

Voting will take place from Sunday until Tuesday, between 9:00 am and 09:00 pm (0700-1900 GMT) each day, with the official results announced on December 18.

In front of the Cairo polling station, posters bore messages to “get out and participate” while a DJ played nationalist songs.

Some 67 million people are eligible to vote, and all eyes will be on turnout after successive previous elections mustered low participation figures.

Despite Egypt’s afflictions, a decade-long crackdown on dissent has eliminated any serious opposition to Sisi, the fifth president to emerge from within the ranks of the military since 1952.

Under his rule, Egypt has jailed thousands of political prisoners, and while a presidential pardons committee has freed around 1,000 in one year, rights groups say that three to four times that many were arrested over the same time period.