Egyptians cast ballots in 3rd and last day of referendum voting

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Apr 2019

Voting will end on Monday night on a series of constitutional amendments, including extending the term of the presidency

Voters outside a polling station on the third day of voting in Upper Egypt's Aswan governorate (Photo: Ahram)

The head of Egypt's National Elections Authority (NEA) Ibrahim Lashin said on Monday that the polls for the referendum on the constitutional amendments will close as scheduled at 9pm without any extensions.

Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) has also released a statement dismissing reports that bags of food were being given to some citizens in exchange for having them go to the polls.

The SIS also said that the claims in some of these reports do not make sense, in that they alleged that citizens were being bussed to cities from villages even though there are polling stations near the residences of all citizens throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the Future of the Homeland Party has issued a statement on Monday condemning what it said were supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood who have tried to distort the image of the party, which is the biggest in Egypt's parliament. 

The party said that the Muslim Brotherhood was spreading false reports that citizens were being bribed in exchange for their vote.

The party said that it has submitted "several reports to the prosecution against a number of individuals, sites and pages funded by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters."

The party also said that food packages were being handed out by charitable organisations to coincide with the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, and that this has nothing to do with the election.

Polling stations nationwide opened their doors on Monday, the third day of voting in a referendum on constitutional amendments, with embassies and consulates abroad ended their three days on Sunday.

More than 61 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in the referendum on the amendments to the 2014 charter, which were recently overwhelmingly approved by parliament.

The referendum on the amendments to a number of articles of the constitution, which includes an extension of the presidential term began nationwide on Saturday and abroad on Friday.

Earlier on Sunday, Egypt’s National Elections Authority (NEA) said it would not be extending its three days of voting, dismissing reports claiming otherwise.

Head of Egypt's Judges Club Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen said on Monday that the club's central operations room has not received any complaints with regards to the voting process.

In statements to MENA news agency, the club's spokesman Reda Mahmoud said that Abdel-Mohsen is receiving regular updates on the voting process, which is taking place under full judicial supervision provided by over 19,000 judges.

The NEA said on Monday that voting is proceeding normally and in an orderly fashion in all parts of Egypt on the third and final day of the referendum.

Polling stations across the country opened on time at 9am, and the NEA has not received any complaints regarding the vote in any of the governorates, said NEA chairman Lashin Ibrahim.

An Egyptian man casts his vote at a polling station in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria as Egyptians continue to take part in a referendum on constitutional amendments on the second day of a three-day poll, on April 21, 2019 (Photo: AFP)

The constitutional amendments referendum abroad, which started on Friday, took place in 140 polling stations in Egyptian consulates and embassies in 124 countries.

According to Ahram Arabic, the Egyptian embassies in Russia , Uganda, Ukraine , Saudi Arabia and United Arab closed their doors in front of expat voters as the referendum ended 9 PM according to their local time.

Meanwhile, the NEA said it has not received any reports that voters were being "bribed" to cast their ballots in the ongoing national referendum on the amendments to the country’s constitution.

The NEA didn’t not mention specific numbers on the turnout in the referendum voting, however it said that the first day of voting [Saturday] saw "a higher turnout than any other first day of voting in any formerly held elections of any kind in the country."

NEA's spokesperson Judge Mahmoud El-Sharif said that the authority would immediately deal with any electoral violations, including bribes, within the law.

On Saturday, several reports suggested that voters were receiving a food package in exchange for voting on the amendments, which would see an extension of President Abdel-Fattah's El-Sisi's term from four to six years.

Critics of the constitutional amendments fear they may constitute a step in the return to authoritarian rule in the country by increasing the president's grip on power.

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