Relive: 2nd day of voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections is over

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Oct 2015

Voting in the 1st stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections is over; vote count is underway

A woman casts her vote during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Giza governorate, Egypt, October 19, 2015 (Reuters)

21:40 Ahram Online concludes its live coverage of the second day of voting in Egypt’s parliamentary elections. 

21:35 The HEC’s spokesman Omar Marawan has just announced that the results of the first stage of voting for Egpytian expatriates will be out within two hours, contrary to what Hamdi Loza told Al-Hayat TV. Time will tell. 

21:30 The High Elections Committee has just announced that the results of this first stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections will be announced on Thursday.

The vote counting process is already underway, with voting closing a short while ago.

21:05 Hamdi Loza, the deputy foreign minister, has told Al-Hayat TV that the announcement of the results of voting by expatriate Egyptians is being postponed until Tuesday morning due to a delay in receiving some results.

20:45 Analysts speaking to Ahram Online suggested there were forewarnings of the low turnout many polling stations witnessed .

“Media outlets mounted attacks and organised smear campaigns against political parties, so they were unable to get their message across to the public," said Yousri Al-Azabawi, a researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

"Many parties also faced internal rifts and weren’t ready to campaign, and some independent candidates weren't ready either,” he added.

“Also bear in mind that many who supported President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi’s regime have become frustrated by a lack of economic development,” Al-Azabawi concluded.

Mohamed Al-Agaty, director of the Arab Forum for Alternatives, is not surprised by the low turnout.

“Since they passed the elections law, which favours independent candidates over political parties, I’ve been saying the regime doesn’t want party politics in Egypt,” he said.

“In addition to that, just weeks ahead of the elections there were court rulings which could cast doubts over the legality of this parliament, so the question now is: Is the regime planning for a weak parliament?” Al-Agaty concluded.  

20:15 Huda Sharaawy, a pregnant Agouza housewife in her thirties, brought her toddler daughter with her to the polling station. She told Ahram Online she voted for Amr El-Shobaki and, based on a tip-off from a friend, an unfamiliar candidate whose name she couldn't remember. 

19:55 Sandra, an 18-year-old first time voter who accompanied her mother to the polling station, told Ahram Online that it's important to vote at her age.

The young student told Ahram Online that she cast her ballot based on her mother's recommendations.

19:45 "I came to vote because we should be more positive," says Khaled. The 20-year-old dentistry student was the youngest voter at Agouza's Gamal Abdel Nasser polling station.

Khaled told Ahram Online he chose candidates who he feels best represent him, voting for Amr El-Shobki and a female candidate whose name he forgets. He was unaware he'd have to select two names. As for the lists, he went for Egypt's Call because his father recommended it.

19:40 50-year-old Khaled Sabry told Ahram Online in Agouza he came to vote out of duty and chose moderate candidates, complaining that too many candidates were unfamiliar.

19:35 Mortada Mansour, the well-known lawyer and vocal regime supporter, told Ahram Online in Agouza, Greater Cairo, that Egyptian women have rescued this election as they did the presidential elections.

"More people showed up today than yesterday, especially women. This highlights the greatness of Egyptian women," Mansour said.

Mortada Mansour
Mortada Mansour (Photo: Zeinab El-Gundy)

18:58 Ahmed Saleh, an Agouza retiree in his mid 70s, voted according to candidates' "knowledge" and "culture".

"People just don't want to accept that the MP's role is not to provide services but to draft policies in the parliament," he told Ahram Online as he leant on his walking stick. Saleh says he voted for Amr El-Shobay and for Tahany El-Gabali's list.

18:50 Women of all ages have turned out to vote in Agouza, Ahram Online reports. A judge there tells her that turnout is similar to yesterday's.

18:45 Turnout today at a polling station in Agouza was very low, a judge there told Ahram Online's Zeinab El-Gundy, with as few as 500 voters showing up.

“The government should hold a public conference to see why people don’t want to vote,” Noha, a lady in her twenties, told Ahram Online. “I came to vote because it's my duty to Egypt,” she added.

Noha said she voted for independent candidate and media personality Abdel-Rehiem Ali as he has experience combating corruption and cares for the country, and the For the Love of Egypt list because it includes a “patriot” in Sameh Saif Al-Yazel, a former intelligence officer.

17:55 Three candidate supporters have been injured in a fight that featured firearms in front of the Azhari Center Council in Fayoum and have been taken to hospital, Al-Ahram Arabic reported. They include a 48-year-old man who suffered a bullet wound in the lower back and a 13-year-old boy with birdshot in his legs.

Fayoum, in the North, Middle and South of Upper Egypt region, is allocated four seats elected on a list basis and 15 individual seats.

17: 40 The HEC will later today announce the results of voting by expatriate Egyptians, state-owned organisation MENA has reported. Egypt's embassies in 139 countries hosted polling stations open on Saturday and Sunday. Results are in apart from those of large turnouts in Kuwait and Riyadh. 

16:35 Security forces have arrested three Nour Party members who were handing out promotional flyers in front of a polling station in the Raml district of Alexandria, violating the elections law, according to a source for Al-Ahram Arabic.

16:00 Verbal hostilities have broken out between campaigners handing out promotional flyers for competing candidates outside polling stations in the working class Giza district of Imbaba, as reported by Ahram Online's Marina Barsoum in Imbaba.

15:20 The International-Local Joint Mission, an HEC-approved observing entity, have complained to the HEC and the interior ministry after members were “harassed” by a police officer in Badr, a town in Beheira, who "insisted on having the members' passports" and "detained" them for half-an-hour.

The mission's statement says the ministry has apologised and supplied a police car to secure the delegation in Badr.

The International-Local Joint Mission includes rights and development organisations from various countries. 

15:05 HEC spokesman Omar Marwan has announced there is currently no plan to extend voting into a third day. There are rumours on social media today suggesting an extra day of voting. Marawan confirmed that polling stations will stay open tonight until registered voters attending them have cast their ballots.

14:35 Al-Ahram reports that two polling stations have for the first time been set up on the beach of the Red Sea coast, located in Hurghada’s Social Club. HEC rules permit this as long as the sites are fully secured and entry is restricted to registered voters. 

14:30 The polling stations have closed for a one-hour recess.

14:15 Ahram Online's Marina Barsoum spoke with men sitting in a coffee shop close to two polling stations in Imbaba in Greater Cairo.

Neither one intends to vote; Khaled, in his early twenties, told Marina that he doesn't care about the elections and isn't into politics. He said that some of his friends, whose parents are running in the elections, pressured him to vote, but he declined.

His friend Mostafa, also in his early twenties, said that he has researched all the candidates and lists running in his district but still won't vote.

"I don't believe anyone deserves my vote," he said.

"It's all the same; I can't feel any change and it's the same for many of my friends," he said of the current political scene.

Sitting nearby is Tarek Anany, in his 50s, who told Marina he doesn’t intend to vote because the candidates don't have a clear electoral programme.

Anany also criticised the media saying that many people follow it but "it's not clean" and is trying to direct people according to their own agenda.

14:00 It's Article 57 of the law on the exercising of political rights which mandates a fine for non-voters:

"Any person whose name is recorded in the electoral register and fails to vote in the election or referendum without excuse shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds."

reads the translation on the website of the official State Information Service.

Although the law has been amended recently, the section mandating a fine for non-voting is not new. 

There's some discussion about whether fines will be imposed this time round; if so, it would be the first time that this article has been implemented.

13:45 The polling station in Luxor governorate which was closed earlier after clashes between candidates' supporters has been reopened, Al-Ahram Arabic reports.

The station in the village of Dabeaya was closed by the presiding judge this morning for several hours after police and army personnel had to fire warning shots to separate the two sides. 

13:40 The Minister of Administrative and Local Development Ahmed, Zaki Badr, has said that the High Election Committee is the only entity that is responsible for deciding whether to fine non-voters, and if they do decide to do so, the ministry will collect the fines.

A fine of LE500 (around $62) faces those who abstain from voting. However, the fine has never been imposed before.

Badr added that initial tally shows a voter turnout of between 11 to 15 percent, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported. 

13:30 We also spoke to the head of the Wafd Party’s media committee about how he thinks things are going. Yasser Hassan told us that he expects turnout in this first stage of voting is unlikely to exceed 10 percent, and blames a general “election aversion” among voters.

“There has to be a real cure for the low turnout problem. The state has to re-inform people about the importance of the upcoming parliament and why is it still important to vote, so the same problem [of low turnout] won’t re-occur in the second round,” he told us.

Hassan also blamed the media for the low turnout, arguing that they have “defamed” the image of political parties in Egypt ahead of the elections.

Hassan argues that the low turnout is actually encouraging some candidates to engage in vote-buying. Some, he argues, have “bought votes” in this round, and some who will be standing in districts in the second round, with voting scheduled for November, have started voting buying already.

The liberal party is fielding individual candidates, and is also part of the pro-Sisi “For the Love of Egypt” list.

12:30 The spokesman for the Free Egyptians Party, Shehab Wagih, told Ahram Online that the turnout is better than yesterday, especially in the countryside in Upper Egypt.

Wagih expects that the peak number of voters will be around 7pm.

When asked about the current conflict between the Free Egyptians Party and the Nour Party, Wagih declined to comment.

The FEP's founder, business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, filed a complaint with the prosecutor-general on Sunday, accusing the Nour Party and its spokesman, Nader Bakkar, of defaming him after the latter described him as “a failure" and "corrupt.”

12:00 The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights has issued a report stating that it observed a low turnout yesterday.

The organisation is one of 81 local NGOs that have been given permits to monitor the polls. International monitors are also present.

The EOHR reported that it had observed cases of voter bribery in Minya, Fayoum and Aswan.

11:45 The supervising judge at Ibn El-Waleed polling station in Giza’s Talbeya, Omneya Omran, tells Ahram Online’s Marina Barsoum that turnout today has been higher than yesterday.

Some commentators have predicted a higher turnout today given that voters are more likely to come on the second day, and as the government has given state employees half a day off today.

11:30 We’ve got a report of some minor clashes at a polling station in Luxor.

In Dabeaya village, clashes between the supporters of two candidates competing for an independent seat led the supervising judge, Mohamed Adnan, to close the polling station.

Police and army personnel guarding the polling stations fired warning shots in the air to divide the two sides, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.
It's not yet clear when the polling station will be reopened.

10:45 Alexandria governor Hany El-Messiry has announced that public transport in the city will be free from 1pm until 9pm, to encourage voters to head to the polls.

The turnout in the governorate remains low at present, according to Al-Ahram Arabic's Mohamed Abdel-Ghany.

10:30 Vote-counting has concluded in Kuwait, with the "For the Love of Egypt" party list gaining the majority of votes.

In the North, Middle and South of Upper Egypt constituency, “For the Love of Egypt” won 6,210 votes, "The Call of Egypt” won 1,535, the Egyptian Front Coalition list won 1527, and the Reawakening Bloc won 760.

In West Delta, 813 voted for "For the Love of Egypt", and 77 for the Salafist Nour Party list.

10:15 In Omraneya in Giza, Asmaa Ali tells Ahram Online's Marina Barsoum she only came to vote after she heard about the LE500 fine for those who abstain from voting.

The High Elections Committee has said that those who do not vote will be fined, but such fines are practically never applied.

Representatives of various independent candidates at the same polling station got into a scuffle, accusing each other of directing voters, and police had to intervene.

No major legal violations were reported yesterday, according to HEC. 

10:00 Inside the Hisham Sheta Preparatory School in Omraneya in Giza, Judge Ahmed Kazem tells Ahram Online’s reporter Marina Barsoum that he has seen the recorded death threats message sent to many of the judges, but didn’t receive one himself.

According to the Judges Club, an unofficial union that represents the majority of Egypt's judges, several poll-monitoring judges received death threats via SMS on Sunday.

Kazem says that the turnout today is similar to that of yesterday, numbering in the dozens. 

An elderly voter assisted at a polling station in Giza's Omraneya (Photo: Marina Barsoum)

09:30 Egyptian expats cast their votes on Saturday and Sunday at Egyptian embassies and consulates worldwide. Los Angeles was reportedly the last place worldwide to close its ballot boxes, at 6am Cairo time. 

According to Al-Ahram Arabic, there are some initial counts coming in from other embassies; in London, 280 people voted, 4 votes were invalid, and the majority selected the pro-Sisi "For the Love of Egypt" list -- 126 votes in the North, Central, and South of Upper Egypt constituency, and 122 votes in West Delta.

09:15 Ahram Online’s Marina Barsoum reports that people are already lining up outside a polling station in front of Martyr Hisham Sheta Preparatory School for Girls in Omraneya in Giza.

Om Ali, a housewife in her 60s who lives in Boulaq, told Ahram Online that she isn't familiar with any of the candidates, so she asked another woman waiting in line at the polling station about who to vote for.

The woman told her about the non-Islamists running in the district, because she was worried about mistakenly voting for a Brotherhood or Salafist candidate.  

"We want the best for our country. I was hesitant to come and vote but I just decided I would, and I was sure people would guide me,” Om Ali says.

For more on the Islamists that are running, and those that are not, click here.

09:00 Polls nationwide should be opening now. 

08:30 Welcome to Ahram Online's live coverage of the second day of voting in the first stage of the parliamentary elections.

Today we'll see the voting conclude in the first stage, which includes 14 out of Egypt's 27 governorates -- Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Beheira, Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh.

Polls will be open from 9am to 9pm, with a break scheduled for the afternoon. Tonight and tomorrow we expect to see results coming in, although there is still the possibility of run-off rounds between top candidates in constituencies where no single candidate secures 50 percent of the vote, and of candidate appeals.

The next 13 governorates will vote in November, with the resulting House of Representatives, Egypt's first parliament since 2012, expected to take shape in December.

For more details about the election process, check out Ahram Online's idiot's guide.

Voting went smoothly yesterday, with no major security incidents, although turnout in most places seemed low.

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