PEC extends Egypt's 2014 vote to Wednesday, no holiday declared

Ahram Online, Tuesday 27 May 2014

Voting extended for a third day in Egypt's presidential election

Soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the second day of voting in the Egyptian election in Cairo, May 27, 2014(Photo:Reuters)

The Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) has extended voting in Egypt's presidential election by one more day, making Wednesday day three in the contest between Hamdeen Sabahi and Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The decision to extend the voting until Wednesday was in response to calls by "large swaths of the people" who were not able to cast their ballots during scheduled hours, a statement by the PEC said.

It added that the intense midday heat meant larger numbers of voters went at night, but it was not possible to extend voting later in the evening.

The commission had earlier said there were no plans to extend the voting time and officials have denied that turnout through the second polling day was low.

Seeking to boost the number of voters, the interim government declared Tuesday a public holiday and extended voting hours until 10pm, an hour later than planned.

But after Wednesday's extension, the vote is due to end at 9pm on Tuesday, the PEC said in the statement.

Presidential frontrunner El-Sisi has previously called for a large turnout in the vote that he is expected to win in a landslide.

His supporters, who see him as a tough man needed to restore order and revive a flagging economy, seek a big turnout to give greater credibility to his anticipated win and affirm backing of the army's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi last year.

Ahram Online reporters have reported a noticeably low turnout across several polling stations in Cairo on Monday and earlier on Tuesday.

El-Sisi's only challenger in the poll is Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist politician and a longtime dissident who finished third in the 2012 election that Morsi won.

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