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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid