News / Middle East

Egypt’s 'Couch Party' Silent on Third Day of Polls

A man reads a local newspaper with the headline in Arabic reading, "Egypt surprises the world," outside a polling station in Cairo, May 27, 2014.
A man reads a local newspaper with the headline in Arabic reading, "Egypt surprises the world," outside a polling station in Cairo, May 27, 2014.
Heather Murdock
— As voting in Egypt's presidential elections winds down, residents say the silent majority has spoken by not showing up to the polls.
 
During the 2011 revolution, activists on the streets jokingly referred to Egyptians who stayed home as the ‘Hizb al-Kanaba’ or ‘The Couch Party.’ The name stuck and it applies to most Egyptians who want to live their lives, feed their families and do not care all that much who occupies the presidential palace.
 
Abdelrahman Hany is the opposite of the Kanaba: a human rights worker who took to the streets in 2011, later protested military rule and he joined the crowds in 2013, demanding the resignation of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s last president.  
 
But this week, he did not vote.
 
He said in this election he is proud to be a Kanaba member because he does not support either candidate. Former army chief and de facto Egyptian leader Abdul Fatah el-Sissi will surely win, he said, and challenger Hamdeen Sabahi’s campaign lends legitimacy to the election.

For the second day, trending on Twitter in Egypt was “withdraw Sabahi” in Arabic, posted by activists that want the opposition to pull out in order to tarnish Sissi’s victory.
 
By not voting, Hany said, activists hope the incoming government will be cautious about heavy-handed tactics for fear of losing the public’s confidence. In the past year under Sissi, thousands of people have been killed or arrested in the name of fighting terrorism.

Several political parties boycotted the election, including Morsi's party, the now banned Muslim Brotherhood. Analysts said low voter turnout could be a combination of boycotts and voter apathy. Everyone knows who will win and Egyptians are tired of voting after six elections in three years.  
 
At a polling station near downtown Cairo a voter named Hanan casts her ballot, saying she was not going to participate, but after they extended the vote for a third day, she felt she had to.
 
She explained nervously that she felt “they” were “very determined” that people vote, but she does elaborate. Authorities have threatened to fine non-voters and some boycotters have reported being harassed.
 
But election officials say the government will not enforce a fine upon what could be tens of millions of people who registered, but did not vote.
 
Election officials also said some people cast blank ballots that will be counted to indicate the voter came in to say he or she did not want either candidate.  
 
But since so many people did not show up, they say it is impossible to know for sure if the Kanaba Party has less love for Sissi than previously assumed, or if they just did not feel like voting.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ahmad eissa retired amb. from: Hello polis cairo
May 29, 2014 12:50 PM
It is clear that the reporter is biased and not objective. He or she either does' t see things properly or was not found inside the field.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid