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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid