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Egyptians vote in election set to give El-Sissi another six years as president

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Egyptians have begun voting in an election in which President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi faces no serious challenger and is certain to win another term, keeping him in power until 2030.

The election has been overshadowed by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Almost all Egyptians’ attention has been on the war on their country’s eastern borders and the suffering of Palestinian civilians in the coastal enclave.

The three-day vote, beginning on Sunday, is also taking place amid a staggering economic crisis in Egypt, a country of 105 million people in which nearly a third live in poverty, according to official figures.

The crisis stems from mismanagement of the economy but also from the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine, which rattled the global economy.

Mr El-Sissi faces three other candidates: Farid Zahran, head of the opposition Social Democratic Party; Abdel-Sanad Yamama, chairman of Wafd Party; and Hazem Omar, head of the Republican People’s Party.

An ambitious young presidential hopeful, Ahmed Altantawy, dropped out of the race after he failed to secure the required signatures from residents to secure his candidacy.

He blamed his failure on what he said was harassment by security agencies of his campaign staff and supporters.

The vote runs for three days, starting on Sunday, with a run-off scheduled for January 8-10 if no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote, according to the National Election Authority, a judicial-chaired body that runs the electoral process.

Egyptian expatriates cast their ballots on December 1-3.

Ahead of the vote, the interior ministry, which oversees police forces, deployed thousands of troops across the country to secure the election.

More than 67 million people are eligible to vote and authorities are hoping for a high turnout to give the election legitimacy.

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