Why 2024 presidential elections mark highest-ever turnout in Egypt history?

Ahram Online , Monday 18 Dec 2023

Egypt's 2024 presidential elections witnessed the highest voter turnout in the history of Egypt, said the National Elections Authority (NEA) Head Hazem Badawy on Monday.

presidential election
Egyptians arrive at a polling station of Shubra Secondary school to cast their ballots in the presidential election in Cairo at on December 10, 2023. Photo: AFP


During a presser to announce the elections' results, the NEA head declared incumbent President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's victory in Egypt's 2024 presidential elections with 39.7 million votes, representing 89.6 percent of valid votes.

The turnout percentage reached 66.8 percent, with 44.7 million citizens voting in the elections at home and abroad, out of 67.3 million eligible voters, according to Badawy. 

Nevine Mosaad, a professor of political science at Cairo University, concurs that the substantial voter turnout in the elections can be attributed to Egyptians' heightened awareness of threats to national security.

“These threats primarily stem from the events in Gaza and the precarious regional situation in neighbouring countries such as Libya and Sudan,” Mossaad told Ahram Online.

This heightened awareness motivated people to rally behind the country and express confidence in its ability to effectively manage the national security agenda for Egypt, she said.

Similarly, Abdel-Moneim Said, a senior political expert and member of Egypt’s Senate, attributes the significant turnout in the 2024 presidential elections to the unfolding events in Gaza.

“These events have reverberated throughout Egyptian society, evoking memories of the Arab Spring in the collective consciousness," Said told Ahram Online.

The events in Gaza, coupled with regional threats confronting Egypt, have instilled fear among Egyptians regarding potential dangers, he added.

Concerns, Said said, include the forced displacement of Palestinians to Egypt and actions by the Houthis, posing substantial risks.

These risks encompass threats to the Suez Canal and Egyptian cities in Sinai, such as Dahab and Nuweiba, Said clarified.

Consequently, the perceived sense of danger among Egyptians has underscored the critical importance of supporting the president and casting their votes, he added.

In a statement by the foreign ministry issued last week, Egypt reaffirmed its categorical rejection of any Israeli attempts to voluntarily or forcibly displace Palestinians outside Gaza, noting that all Israeli practices on the ground confirm Israel’s intentions to impose the forced displacement of Palestinians.

This statement came in response to remarks by Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer on encouraging Palestinians in Gaza to migrate outside the strip voluntarily.

“Although Egypt has come under economic and political pressure to allow the displacement of Palestinians in Gaza to Sinai, it firmly stands against this pressure because this scenario is a big threat to its national security and sovereign interests and could mean the liquidation of the Palestinian cause,” Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in late November.

On 14 December, Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Terrorism, the monitoring unit of the world's leading Sunni Islamic authority Al-Azhar, denounced the recent remarks made by Rabbi Uzi Sharbaf, a well-known Zionist figure, who alleged that the ongoing Israeli war in Gaza aims “to continue liberating the land of Israel in Gaza and its milieu.”

“No doubt that we need to pray and do everything so that we can liberate the entire Sinai region up to the Nile River,” Sharbaf said at a conference on Israeli settlement in Gaza as per a clip with Arabic subtitles shared on the observatory’s Facebook page.

The “extremist racist” remarks made by the Zionist entity reveal the ugly face of this terrorist entity, Al-Azhar Observatory noted in a statement, warning that Israel aims to occupy not only the Palestinian lands but also the Arab and Islamic lands. 


A look back: Egypt's presidential elections journey from 2012 to 2018

After Egypt's 2011 revolution, pivotal presidential elections between 2012 and 2018 revealed shifting voter turnouts.

In the summer of 2012, Egypt had its first multi-candidate and the only, thus far, two-round presidential elections following the January revolution and the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

In the first round, with a voter turnout of 46.42 percent, the results were split between five major candidates: Mohamed Morsi (25 percent), Ahmed Shafik (24 percent), Hamdeen Sabahi (21 percent), Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh (17 percent), and Amr Moussa (11 percent), with the remaining 2 percent split between several other candidates. 

As for the number of votes, the late President Mohamed Morsi received 13,230,131 votes (51.7 percent) compared to the 12,347,380 votes (48.27 percent) for his rival Ahmed Shafik in the second round.

The number of eligible voters was 50,958,794, and the number of those who participated in the vote was 26,240,763, with a turnout rate of 51.85 percent in this second round. The number of valid votes was 25,577,511.

For the referendum on the 2012 constitution, the turnout was 32.9 percent.

In the 2014 presidential elections, President El-Sisi’s first elections, the former minister of defense won 23.78 million votes (96.91 percent), while his sole rival leftist Hamdeen Sabahi took a modest 757,511 of the votes (3.09 percent).

According to Egypt’s Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) which supervised the elections, 25,578,233 voted in the elections, with a turnout of 47.5 percent. Spoilt votes exceeded the votes for Sabahi, with 1,040,608 invalidated ballots.

The PEC announced that out of the 318,033 Egyptians who voted abroad, El-Sisi won 296,628 (94.5 percent) votes, while Sabahi got 17,207 (5.5 percent). Invalid votes totaled 4,198.

El-Sisi got 10 million more votes than Morsi did in the 2012 elections, which enjoyed a slightly higher turnout of 50 percent, as compared to 2014’s 47.45 percent.

The turnout rate in the 2014 referendum on constitutional amendments was 38.6 percent.

In 2018, El-Sisi won his second presidential term with 97 percent of valid votes; the turnout was 24,25 million out of 59 million eligible voters or 41 percent.

The NEA declared President El-Sisi as the winner of the nation's 2018 presidential elections, securing a second four-year term after winning 21,835,378 votes or 97.08 percent of valid votes.

The authority said that Ghad Party chief Moussa Mostafa Moussa, El-Sisi's sole election opponent, won 656,534 votes or 2.92 percent of the total votes.

In the 2019 referendum on amending the constitution, the participation rate stood at 44.3 percent of eligible voters.

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