Egyptians go to the polling stations on Tuesday and Wednesday to cast their ballots for 200 members of a newly created 300-seat second chamber of parliament. The remaining 100 senators will be appointed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Many of the candidates running are supporters of el-Sisi, and they are expected to dominate. The Council of Senators will be an advisory body without real legislative powers. Egyptian officials say the Senate will boost political participation but there has been little enthusiasm and excitement leading up to the elections. These elections are unlikely to revive vibrant political life under el-Sisi’s rule. Last year, Egyptians overwhelmingly voted in a referendum in favor of far-reaching constitutional amendments that included the reinstatement of the upper house and the extension of el-Sisi’s rule until 2030. The referendum also boosted el-Sisi’s control over the judiciary and granted the army even greater influence in political life. Nearly 63 million people out of a total population of more than 100 million are eligible to vote, according to state news agency MENA.
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