Pundit analyses Egyptian post-2011 voting trends

Mary Mourad, Sunday 21 Apr 2013

A new book looks at voting in Egyptian governorates since the revolution, analysing the impact of factors like urbanisation, age of population, unemployment

Book signing for El-Agati's book at Alef Bookstore (Photo: Mary Mourad)

Among a small crowd of friends and political thinkers from various currents, political pundit Mohamed El-Agati launched his small yet insightful study on how Egyptians voted during the six electoral processes since the January 25 revolution.

The reception area of Alef Bookstore in Zamalek was crowded on Saturday evening during the book signing event which was attended by Ambassador Choukri Fouad, Secretary General of Dostour Party, journalist and researcher Wael Gamal from the Popular Socialist Alliance Party, and ex-parliament member Amr El-Shobaki.

The 64-page study includes an introduction where the methodology was described for the analysis of the two constitutional referenda, the two parliamentary elections and the two rounds of the presidential elections.

In 8 chapters, El-Agati analyses voting across Egypt's 27 governorates through different dimensions: urbanisation, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, youth percentage, participation rates and prevalence of protests. The book includes illustrations with graphs and tables indicating the source of the information and how it can be used to understand the changing political map.

Amr El-Shobaki
Amr El-Shobaki introducing the book (Photo: Mary Mourad)

Amr El-Shobaki, political analyst and researcher, highlighted the importance of looking at data and using scientific methods to understand voting trends, rather than just depending on impressions.

El-Agati described how he wished to understand how voting trends changed from the first referendum to the last within each governorate, bearing in mind the usual political trend of Islamist vs. secular, which he was convinced isn't true, but was rather impacted by interest.

The most significant trend El-Agati discovered was how the governorates with least illiteracy were highest in terms of participation, as were those with lower unemployment, and a higher percentage of youth.

Governorates with the highest poverty rates were the highest supporters of the authority, while areas with larger youth populations voted against authority. On average, some 19 million voters participated in each of the six electoral processes.

El-Agati warned that the results of his analysis were impacted by the Shura Council elections where participation was lowest, while there was also the lowest diversity between competing powers, and Islamists gained an overwhelming majority. El-Agati discovered that the broader scope of competition drives greater participation in elections. Where unemployment is lowest, there is a trend to vote for those in authority; he assumes this drives more support for the status quo.

In conclusion, El-Agati said that it is important to note that many of the governorates remain undecided with potential both for those in authority and for the undecided. 

Mohamed El-Agati
Mohamed El-Agati signing his book at Alef Bookstore (Photo: Mary Mourad)

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