>> Egyptians have begun voting in an election set to deliver an easy win for incumbent Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Citing repression, all credible opposition pulled out, clearing the way for the former military commander. Reuters deputy bureau chief in Cairo, John Davison, says even the Egyptian leader seems to have reservations.
>> To the point where actually Sisi has even hinted that he sees this fight more as a referendum on his rule. Because he said people need to turn out and rather that 30% of the people vote no rather than yes. So just that language that Sisi has been using suggests that he sees it and many people see it more as a referendum than an election.
>> It's being called a sham election by a group of US foreign policy specialists. Who say it's taking place against a backdrop of massive human rights abuses. Critics say Sisi's popularity has been hurt by austerity reforms and the muzzling of opponents, activists, and independent media.>> Most of the critisism around the election is around the sort of crackdown that has occurred.
Against other candidates that wanted to challenge Sisi before they even started their campaigns. So now Sisi is only running against one candidate, who most people haven't heard of. And who was supporting Sisi until a few days or even until the same that he actually decided in a last minute decision towards to run against Sisi.
>> After a string of candidates pulled out, Musa Mustafa Musa stepped forward. A long time Sisi supporter, he is widely dismissed as a government stooge. Polls are open for three days, and the big concern for Sisi will be turn out. After leading the military's overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.
He's cast his bid for a second term as a vote for stability and security. Lower turn out could suggest he lacks a mandate to take the tough steps needed to revive the country's struggling economy.