No surprises in store as Egypt heads to polls

CAIRO-Egypt is gearing up this month for a presidential election certain to win incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a third term in office, despite rising public discontent as the country faces its worst ever economic crisis.
From Sunday through Tuesday, Egyptians aged 18 and above will be able to cast their ballots for one of four candidates -- former army chief Sisi, in power since he deposed elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, and three other relative unknowns. Preparations for elections in the Arab world’s most populous country are massive in scale -- with nearly 9,400 polling stations set up and 15,000 judicial employees working over the three days of voting. Results are expected to be announced on December 18, unless a second round of voting is required. However, Egypt’s nearly 106 million residents see this as unlikely given Sisi’s record of receiving over 96 percent of the vote in both the 2014 and 2018 elections. For a brief period, some expected the upcoming election to be a tougher race. But the two main opposition figures -- who many say had no real hope of winning, but hoped to highlight dissident voices during the campaign -- are now in prison or awaiting trial. After a decade-long crackdown on dissent, Egypt ranks 135th out of 140 countries on the World Justice Project’s rule of law index. But beyond the political situation, the number-one priority for Egyptians is the faltering economy.

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