Egypt votes for new parliament amid opposition to previous regimes

Cairo: Egyptians began on Sunday voting in the country’s first parliamentary election in three years amid reluctance of people to cast their votes for Islamists or officials of the former president Hosni Mubarak.

The long-awaited polls will be conducted in two phases between October 17 and December 2, with Egyptians residing abroad beginning casting votes on Saturday.

Kareem Al-Senoty, retired engineer man, expressed his rejection for any religious-based nominees in the new legislature. “It’s my duty to vote and prevent the success of the Islamists as lawmakers.”

“We need to separate religion from politics; we are a civil rather than a religious country,” Al-Senoty, who was accompanied by his two daughters in Kafr-Abdoo centre of the coastal city of Alexandria, told Xinhua.

“Egyptians should avoid being controlled by someone with a beard or someone who uses religion for personal gain,” he added.

The now-banned Muslim Brotherhood swept the previous parliament along with Sunni fundamentalists. The previous assembly was dissolved in June 2012.

The Salafist Al-Nour Party was the only Islamist political party in the election. Al-Nour won about a quarter of the votes in the country’s first post-revolution parliamentary elections held in late 2011, coming the second behind the Brotherhood.

Religious-based parties are banned according to the 2014 constitution. But al-Nour always denies its religious affiliations, defending itself as a party with religious background.

Reserving 75 percent of the seats for the individuals will likely make the new assembly vulnerable for the Islamists and the wealthy remnants of the former president Hosni Mubarak’s dissolved National and Democratic Party.

“I will give my voice for anyone, even if I don’t know him very well provided that he/she isn’t affiliated to the former president Mubarak regime or the Brotherhood,” said Sanaa Yassin, a 42-year-old housewife.

“We went through two uprisings to avoid the old faces who turned the country into perplexity,” she added. “The Egyptians deserve better servers.”