Egypt announced Thursday that the nation’s long-delayed parliament elections will start in March and that the voting will be staggered over seven weeks — the final step in a political roadmap put in place by the military after its ouster of the country’s first democratically elected president. The chief of the Supreme Election Committee, Ayman Abbas, said the voting will take place in phases in Egypt’s 27 provinces and among Egyptians living abroad. Egypt has been mired in turmoil since the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The country has been without a legislature for more than two years, after its last elected house was dissolved by a 2012 court ruling. Legislative powers have lately resided in the hands of new President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, elected in June 2014.
The previous house was controlled by Islamists, chiefly members of the Muslim Brotherhood who came to power in the country’s first democratically held vote following Mubarak’s toppling. But a court dissolved the Islamist-dominated chamber on a technicality, days before Islamist Mohammed Morsi was elected president in 2012.
The crisis culminated in July 2013, when the military stepped in, ousting Morsi in the face of popular protests against his rule. Morsi’s critics accused him and his Brotherhood of monopolizing power.
Since then, the military-backed authorities have cracked down on Morsi’s supporters and other Islamists, killing hundreds and arresting thousands. Morsi and other leaders are all incarcerated and facing trials.