Cairo: Egyptians voted on Sunday in the first round of the long-delayed elections to choose a new parliament as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seeks to tighten his grip on power over two years after he ousted his Islamist predecessor.
The election consists of two rounds of voting and results are not expected to be known until early December as 27,402,253 eligible voters choose 596 MPs for the lower house, the House of Representatives.
The first stage of the parliamentary polls will see polling in fourteen Egyptian governorates -- Giza, Alexandria, Beheira, Minya, Suhag, Assuit, Qena, Fayyoum, Beni Sueif, Aswan, Luxor, the Red Sea, Mersa Matrouh and the New Valley.
The 14 governorates have about 18,945 polling stations. Of the 596 seats, 448 have been reserved for independents while 120 will be chosen from party-based lists.
President Sisi is authorised to appoint 28 more members in the one-chamber assembly.
The voters began streaming into the polling stations this morning under heavy security vigil with at least 180,000 policemen deployed for the first phase, according to Interior Ministry spokesperson Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim.
He said the policemen would be joined by at least 185,000 military troops.
Sisi had yesterday urged all Egyptians to actively participate in parliamentary elections.
The President, in reference to the ouster of the country's first freely elected leader Mohamed Morsi in July, 2013, said people's will which appeared in going to the streets in millions is what "dethroned injustice and fascism".
Sisi specially called on the youth, women and expatriates to cast their ballots.
The parliamentary elections started yesterday in 139 countries with Egyptian expatriates casting their votes.
At least 10 million Egyptians are estimated to work abroad. However, only 700,000 are registered voters.
A Foreign Ministry official said balloting will not be held in Yemen, Libya, Syria and the Central African Republic (CAR) due to unrest there.
The elections will be monitored by national and international judges, media and delegates to guarantee the integrity of the balloting process.
The second stage of the parliamentary elections, from November 22-23, will see polling in the remaining 13 governorates.
Egypt has been without a parliament since the previous parliament, elected in late 2011, was dissolved in June 2012 after a court ruled electoral laws in place to be unconstitutional. President Sisi currently holds legislative powers.
Once a Parliament is elected its members will have to vote on all laws issued by Sisi and his predecessor Adly Mansour.