News / Middle East

Egyptians Vote in Historic Presidential Election

Egyptian army soldiers, right, stand guard as hundreds of Egyptians line up outside a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012. Egyptian army soldiers, right, stand guard as hundreds of Egyptians line up outside a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
x
Egyptian army soldiers, right, stand guard as hundreds of Egyptians line up outside a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
Egyptian army soldiers, right, stand guard as hundreds of Egyptians line up outside a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
Elizabeth Arrott
CAIRO - Millions of Egyptians stood in long lines Wednesday to cast ballots in the first presidential election since President Hosni Mubarak resigned last year amid massive protests.

The buildup to the contentious election has largely pitted candidates representing the old guard tied to Mubarak against Islamists trying to form new coalitions. In all, 13 candidates are on the ballot, but one has dropped out of the race. The voting will stretch over two days.

Voters lined up for blocks, waiting sometimes for hours to cast their ballot.

Voter Noha Kamal is relieved that, finally, her vote will count, after years of Mubarak winning tightly-controlled votes.

“This is the first time that we can choose, yes," Kamal said. "In the past 30 years we passed through a lot of questionnaires - 'is it ok or not to retain our president.' Every time, I didn't go.”

Egyptians Flock to Polls for Historic Electioni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Elizabeth Arrott
May 23, 2012 3:36 PM
Egyptians are taking part in a historic election, having an unprecedented say in choosing their next president. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo on this key step in Egypt's post-revolution transition.

Varied candidates

Opinion polls show four front runners.  They include two Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and independent Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, and two members of the old guard - veteran diplomat Amr Moussa and former Air Force commander Ahmed Shafik.  Another candidate, socialist Hamdeen Sabahi has also been emerging in recent polls.

Religion has been central to most campaigns, but Cairo University student Howaida Magdi wishes otherwise. She says she's a Muslim, but she focuses on politics.  Religion, she says, is everyone's personal choice, but it's “not the way to judge politicians.”

There are other key issues - the faltering economy and ongoing instability, with continuing protests, crackdowns and crime - issues that play into the campaigns of Moussa and Shafik who emphasize a return to order.

For some Egyptians, like voter Galal, the transition has been overwhelming, something he hopes whoever wins, be they old guard, or Islamists, will fix.

"We're tired," he said. “Flour is sold on the black market, People do not fear God.”  He wants “the Egyptian nation to be united.”

  • Female Egyptians cast their votes during the second day of presidential elections in Cairo, May 24, 2012.
  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter shakes hands with an official from Al-Azhar in Cairo May 24, 2012. Carter is in Egypt as part of the mission of his Carter Center to monitor presidential elections.
  • An Egyptian man checks a list of voters in the country's presidential election at a polling site in the Zamalek neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
  • Post-revolution pride is on display outside voting stations, Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • An Egyptian man holds a poster of former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, with Arabic that reads " Egypt for all", in front of a wall sprayed with anti-police graffiti in Cairo, May 22, 2012.
  • An Egyptian man cast his vote inside a polling station in Old Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
  • Islamic presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi arrives to a polling station to cast his vote in Al-Sharqya, 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Cairo, May 23, 2012.
  • Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station in Cairo May 23, 2012.
  • Presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh waves outside a polling station in Cairo May 23, 2012.
  • Women came with their children to take part in the historic poll, Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Egyptian voters line up to cast ballots in a southern suburb of Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
  • An Egyptian woman inks her finger after casting her vote during the first day of the presidential election in polling center in Alexandria, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
  • A polling station official waits for the next voter, Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • An Egyptian woman shows her inked after casting her vote during the first day of the presidential election in a polling station in Alexandria, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
  • Women line up waiting to cast their vote at a polling station in Cairo May 23, 2012.
  • Ahmed Maher, a co-founder of the April 6 Revolutionary Movement, waits in line to vote at a polling center in a southern suburb of Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
  • An Egyptian woman casts her vote during the first day of the presidential election in a polling center in Alexandria, Egypt, May 23, 2012.
  • Poll workers check IDs against voter lists, Cairo, Egypt, May 23, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Men cast their vote at a polling station in Cairo May 23, 2012.

Voters uncertain

Others worry that the recent upheaval and decades of political repression have left Egyptians unprepared.

Voter Said Zaki says people are too easily swayed by the last candidate they heard from.

“We don't have confidence,” he said, “not even in ourselves.”

But Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef says perhaps more important will be if people have confidence in the outcome of the vote, which could go to a run-off next month.

“We are also entering these elections without a constitution and you need a judiciary that Egyptians can trust, you need a president who is seen as legitimate even if he is not the preferred candidate," she said.

Morayef feels there may be some irregularities, but not the full-scale vote-rigging of the past.

At a polling station in southern Cairo, a woman who identifies herself only as “an Egyptian voter” acknowledges the vote isn't perfect.

“I don't think this election - it's fantastic to have an election - but I don't think it's going to represent the true wishes of the Egyptian people," she said.

But, she added, it's a first step - a first step on a very long road.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid