News / USA

Egyptian Expats in US Vote for Mubarak Successor

An Egyptian expatriate displays his ballot before casting his vote.An Egyptian expatriate displays his ballot before casting his vote.
x
An Egyptian expatriate displays his ballot before casting his vote.
An Egyptian expatriate displays his ballot before casting his vote.
Mohamed Elshinnawi
Egyptian Americans holding Egyptian citizenship started voting at Egypt’s diplomatic missions around the United States this week to help choose a president for their ancestral homeland 10,000 kilometers away. The polling in the U.S. is part of a run-off vote that will culminate in Egypt proper June 16-17.

The presidential election – the first after strongman Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in a popular uprising early last year and widely considered the country’s first free one – pits Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi against former air force pilot and short-term Mubarak era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq. Candidates favored by many Egyptians who rose up for change nearly 18 months ago did not make it into the second round.

No good choices

For many voters, both in the U.S and Egypt, the choice they now face is one that forces them to identify, as they put it, the lesser of two evils - a choice between recreating the old regime they see represented by Shafiq, and building an Islamist state with limited civil liberties, as many expect Egypt would look like under Morsi.

“We are between the devil and the deep blue sea; neither choice is a good choice at the moment. However, one has to make a choice, non-voting is not an option,” said Millad Bessada who drove two hours from his home in the state of Maryland to the polling station at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Bessada added that he decided to vote for the “devil he knows” rather than selecting the one he doesn’t. His choice, Shafiq, is seen by many as the “quick fix” candidate capable of restoring law and order in country that has been in turmoil, both political and economic, since the uprising began.

Another voter, Maha Atoot, visibly disappointed over her preferred candidate not having made it into the runoff, strongly hinted that she, too, cast her vote for Shafiq.

“I voted for the one who I believe will be able to bring stability and already has had experience in ruling,” she said.

Others, however, voiced unease about Shafiq’s connections to the previous regime and his military background, associated by many in Egypt with Mubarak era repressions.

Voter Tarek Alhabashy, disillusioned over his favorite not making it into the second round, indicated that, rather than not voting at all, he cast his ballot against the old regime.

“I cannot sit at home and complain; I came to vote for one of the two that may put to an end to the military ruling of Egypt.”

Aida Mady joined a growing number of Egyptian expat voters who decided to either boycott the runoff election or void their votes in protest.

“Because I felt discouraged to [choose] between the least favored candidates to me, I voted for both and wrote a note on the ballot [saying] the revolution is still on.”

First 100 days – what voters expect

Regardless of who might emerge the winner, Egyptian Americans have largely made up their minds about what they would expect from the new president of Egypt in his first 100 days in office.

For Milad Bessada security is the top priority. “He has to give people confidence that the revolution’s objectives will be maintained; once they feel their sacrifices were not for nothing, then you will get security.”

Bessada added that the new president should establish a presidential council with vice presidents, including liberals and revolutionary activists, who might help him further the objectives of last year’s uprising.

Egyptian American businessman Ali Gamay, too, insisted that security is the number one priority. “Without stability and security, Egypt would not be able to revive its economy or bring back tourists,” said he.

Gamay added that social justice should be another high priority, especially addressing the grievances of the poor.

For Maha Atoot security is a top priority, too, but she is also concerned about the future make-up of the Egyptian state. “The new president has to make sure Egypt will have a civil constitution, not a religious code; he also needs to reassure young revolutionaries that he will achieve the goals of the revolution,” said she.

High expat vote turnout

Despite the choices, participation in the expat vote seemed strong. According to Sameh Shukry, Egypt’s ambassador in Washington, 27,300 Egyptians registered to vote at the five polling stations set up in the U.S.

“The turnout was higher in the first day of voting in the runoff compared to the first day in the first round of the presidential elections.”

Shukry said that voters were more familiar in the second round with the ground rules, whether they voted by mail or in person.

Representatives of the two presidential candidates have been allowed to monitor the expat vote. Shukry said vote counting will start immediately after polling stations close at 8 pm June 9 and that results will be announced that same night.

Last year, an Egyptian court gave Egyptian expatriates in more than 140 countries around the world the right to vote for the first time.

But both in the U.S. and Egypt questions remain about who will succeed Hosni Mubarak, just sentenced by an Egyptian court to life in prison for his role in the deaths of hundreds of protesters killed last year during the government's crackdown against the uprising. Some also brace for possible last-minute surprises which may include a postponement of the vote scheduled for mid-June. The country’s Constitutional Court may still disqualify Shafiq on the grounds of a law, passed by Egypt’s new parliament, which would bar ex-Mubarak officials from running for office.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid