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Fears of 'low turnout' prompts vote extension in Egypt
Dina Ezzat , Tuesday 27 May 2014
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Egypt election
Election officials wait for voters inside 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 poll until Wednesday.

Government sources said pressure was put on the commission because of “the unexpectedly low turnout” which “could end up being lower than in the 2012 presidential election runoff.”

The 2012 runoff was boycotted by many voters as it offered a choice between an Islamist, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister. Turnout reached 50 percent.

There has also been discussions about allowing people to vote away from their registered polling stations.

The commission member said the request was being reviewed but would be difficult to carry out.

Any change in voting procedures could undermine the entire election and lead to legal challenges, he added.

“The PEC has noticed that media bodies and others have been questioning its decision to prevent people voting away from their registered polling station [linked to the address registered on their ID] and insists the attacks are unfounded,” the commission said in a statement.

Turnout on Monday was between four and nine million, according to various sources who spoke to Ahram Online.

Even the higher figure is way below expectations. There are no estimates about the turnout on Tuesday.

In his last public appearance before the ban on campaigning started on Saturday, El-Sisi said he hoped 40 million people would vote.

Interim President Adly Mansour also appealed for Egyptians to "impress the world" with a big turnout.

El-Sisi's campaign team and state-run opinion pollsters predicted turnout would match the numbers that protested against Mohamed Morsi on 30 June 2013 and celebrated his removal on 3 July.

In an attempt to boost turnout, the government announced on Monday night Tuesday would be a public holiday and banks would be closed.

It also "encouraged" the PEC to extend voting by one hour on Tuesday because the hot weather was deterring voters.

Many said the lower than expected turnout was due to the widespread belief that the outcome was certain. 

There has been a lot of finger-pointing at those around El-Sisi, whether in his official campaign or the wider supporting group. Criticism has been mostly but not exclusively directed at his media campaigners.

More sober voices suggest much of the blame should be directed at political and security advisers who failed to advise El-Sisi against certain decisions disliked by young people – the largest voting bloc. The protest law heads the list of ill-advised moves. 

“We tried to explain but we were outnumbered by those who insisted that the man [El-Sisi] had unshakable support,” said a lawyer with links to El-Sisi's team.

Some critics have said it was a mistake to allow known pro-Mubarak media figures to come out in support of El-Sisi.

“I was very concerned about this image of recreating the Mubarak regime. It is very unfortunate because really the man is not like that at all. He wanted a new beginning in every sense of the world,” said one campaigner.

El-Sisi knows he will win the election, but he wants an impressive turnout to provide a firm mandate and end talk that he was the man who led the ouster of Mohamed Morsi.

 





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5



Lai
28-05-2014 09:49pm
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61+
View from outside
From a non Egyptian standpoint, low turn out because people are scared from the Islamist threat of attack and bombing despite the heavy security. Just my opinion.
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4



Hasan
28-05-2014 08:00am
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Turn out
If a person didn't vote in first two days,how can he vote in 3rd day..? This is not a democracy NOT fair play.Is it PES's mandate to match the turn out with 2012 turn out...? What it shows...? All the state organs including the PES are biased towards CC.The illusion that was created by media since 3rd July 2013 has totally been exposed and damaged.How shamlessly media and some of the anchors telling the army to shoot those who didn't show up, they same they encouraged the police and army to kill Morsy supporters.Media and corrupt old regime loyals are fully responsible this big blow to CC.
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3



ExFrequentTourist
28-05-2014 07:05am
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Already 62 percent have voted
I have been to Egypt atleast 12 times from 1990s.I have never seen such a despair and depression as I see now. By the way I am expecting this news tomorrows on TV channels. Already 62 percent have voted, We are almost there with Al Sisi's 40 million mark. This estimate is 100% fool proof since it is counted by computers long before polls took place.(????)
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2



Hejab Anwar
27-05-2014 08:30pm
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Tell the truth...the people are shunning Sissi
The people don't believe him. He is a fraud...and murderer.
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1



ali
27-05-2014 08:15pm
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impending fraud!
It is absolutely clear now that overwheming people do no approve this regime. The regime decided to extend the days so that its followers could double & triple vote
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