News / Middle East

Egypt Extends Presidential Vote After Low Turnout

  • A woman votes in Cairo, May 27, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam /VOA)
  • A man votes in Cairo, May 27, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam /VOA)
  • A soldier helps a woman at a polling station in Cairo, May 27, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam /VOA)
  • Security outside a polling station in Cairo, May 27, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam /VOA)
  • Children wave flags outside a polling station in Cairo, May 27, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam /VOA)
  • A polling station in Cairo, May 27, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam /VOA)
  • Women vote in Cairo, May 27, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam /VOA)
Voting in Cairo
VOA News
Egypt's election commission has extended the presidential poll by one day in an effort to increase voter turnout in an election that is widely expected to bring former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to power.

The two-day vote was expected to end Tuesday, but polling Monday was reported to be moderate in a country with 54 million registers voters.
 
The extension is widely seen as an effort to boost lower than expected turnout that threatened to undermine the credibility of the frontrunner, Sissi, who toppled the country's first freely-elected civilian president last July.

After Sissi called for record voter participation, low turnout would be seen at home and abroad as an immediate setback  for Sissi, Reuters reported.

In an effort to increase numbers, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab declared Tuesday a public holiday, while the justice ministry warned Egyptians who did not vote would be fined.

High voter turnout is being seen as the key to legitimizing Sissi's expected victory. His victory is a foregone conclusion.
 
Election monitoring groups said the turnout on the first day of the vote was moderate and often thin or non-existent in towns and areas where Islamists dominate.
 
However, el-Sissi and his supporters have been counting on a large turnout to send a message to the West - as well as his opponents, mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is boycotting the election - that his removal of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was not a coup but a popular revolution, similar to the 2011 uprising that ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak's almost 30-year-long rule.

Morsi was Egypt's first freely-elected president since the military coup that toppled King Farouk in 1952. Before Morsi, all of Egypt's presidents had come from the military ranks.
 
Soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the second day of voting in the Egyptian election in Cairo, May 27, 2014.Soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the second day of voting in the Egyptian election in Cairo, May 27, 2014.
x
Soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the second day of voting in the Egyptian election in Cairo, May 27, 2014.
Soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the second day of voting in the Egyptian election in Cairo, May 27, 2014.

Local media loyal to the government chided voters for not turning out in large enough numbers, and Egyptians received text messages reminding them that not voting was an offense punishable by a fine. A prominent TV commentator said people who did not vote were "traitors, traitors, traitors."
 
After polls opened at 9 a.m. local time, lines outside polling stations in various parts of Cairo were short, and in some cases no voters could be seen. The polls close at 10 p.m. Tuesday, an hour later than planned.
 
Only one other candidate

There is only one other candidate: leftist politician candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, whose campaign described turnout on day one as "moderate, and below moderate in some cases."
 
Sabahi's campaign complained of many violations, including physical assaults on Sabahi representatives, and "intervention by police and army,'' on the first day of voting.
 
Official results are not due to come out until next week, but el-Sissi has long been considered the likely winner in the race.
 
In addition to the Muslim Brotherhood, many of the pro-democracy youths who participated in the 2011 uprising against Mubarak are also boycotting the polls. 
 
El-Sissi enjoys the backing of many Egyptian Muslims attracted by his pious demeanor - he has presented himself as a defender of Islam - and Coptic Christians whose churches were attacked after Morsi's downfall and who see him as a protector.
 
“I am voting for el-Sissi because we need to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood. He stood behind the people to overthrow this garbage [the Brothers]. He will improve security and the economy,” said Adnan al-Gindi, a 54-year-old dentist, as he waited to vote for el-Sissi in the affluent Cairo area of Zamalek.
 
The Brotherhood, which came first in both parliamentary and presidential polls held after Mubarak's downfall, has been driven underground in a campaign of repression that has killed hundreds of its followers and landed thousands more in prison.

It is the second time Egyptians are electing a president in two years. And it is the seventh vote or referendum since 2011.
 
As president, el-Sissi would have to meet the expectations of those who have backed him in the hope that he can tackle poverty, unemployment and other social problems. He would also be expected to address the corruption, cronyism and inequality between rich and poor that caused the 2011 revolution.
 
Election reaction

Local media presented the election as a success.
 
"Egyptians make history,'' declared Al-Ahram, the state's flagship newspaper, showing a snaking line of men waiting to vote, reported Reuters.
 
"Egyptians choose the president and declare the end of the Brotherhood,” announced Al-Masry Al-Youm, an independent newspaper hostile to the Islamist movement that was toppled after mass protests against Morsi's rule last year.
 
Some described voting as a waste of time, according to Reuters.
 
"The two candidates are imposed upon us. I don't want either," said 24-year-old Wael Shawky, as he pulled loaves of state-subsidized bread out of the oven of the bakery where he works in the working class district of Imbaba.
 
Others said Egypt needed a military man.
 
“He is the head of the army, he is respected, he is not corrupt or a thief so am voting for el-Sissi,” Douaa Mohammad 34, mother of two from Imbaba, said in a Reuters report.
 
Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP, and Reuters.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Faisal from: Karachi
May 28, 2014 3:02 AM
This clearly shows the illegitimacy of the the current government set up. However bad Morsi was, he was still elected by the people. His govt should have been given the 05 years the people's vote mandated. Democracy is a long term solution to a country's problem and for people who have only seen the government of Mubarak their whole life, democracy must have seemed like a frightening thought. However if they had given it time, Morsi and his pals would have lost the next election and some one else, better or worse, would have taken his place.

What's next for El-Sissi and his military friends?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs