More than half of Egyptians didn't vote in presidential election

More than half of Egyptians didn't vote in presidential election
Thu May 29, 2014 08:59:32

More than half of Egyptian electorates refused to take part in country’s controversial presidential election which lasted for three days to gather more votes but left Egypt’s authorities with strong concerns of a heavy-weighted opposing public opinion.

Egypt's foremer army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has been on course for a sweeping victory in the election, picking up over 93 percent of the vote in the poll which was marred by low voter turnout.

The Sisi campaign said their only rival, Hamdeen Sabahi, picked up 2.9 percent while 3.7 percent of the votes were deemed void, as few people trickled to the polls even after the balloting was extended for a third day.

Judicial sources said just 44.4 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, a figure well below the nearly 52 percent turnout in the 2012 election won by Mohamed Morsi, the president whom Sisi ousted last summer.

In his last campaign TV interview last week, Sisi set the bar even higher, saying he wanted more than 45 million voters to cast ballots, a turnout of more than 80 percent – to “show the world.”

The turnout is key because he is looking to prove to critics at home and abroad that his ouster of Morsi and crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood reflected the will of the people.

Critics say the lack of enthusiasm at the polls is in part due to deep apathy among even Sisi supporters, knowing that his victory was a foregone conclusion.

Others say it shows deep discontent with Sisi, not just among his brotherhood foes but also among a broader section of the public that says he has no solutions for Egypt’s woes and fears he will return Egypt to the autocratic ways of Hosni Mubarak.

The tepid polling is particularly embarrassing because the government and media have been whipping up adulation for Sisi the past 10 months, depicting him as a warrior against terrorism and the only person able to tackle Egypt’s woeful economy, high unemployment, inflation and instability.

Sisi’s supporters in the Egyptian media have been in a panic the past two days. Political talk show hosts and newscasters have been berating people to vote, warning that otherwise the Brotherhood will be encouraged to step up its challenge to the new government.


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