Last day for security to prepare for Egypt elections

Ahram Online, Tuesday 22 May 2012

Judges settle in their respective governorates and security forces finalise preparations before Wednesday, the first voting day in Egypt's first post-uprising presidential elections

Presidential elections
Egyptian army soldiers carrying cardboard containers filled with ballots boxes to transport them to polling stations before the the first day of voting (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's public institutions are in the process of finalising their preparations for Wednesday and Thursday, during which the first round of voting in the highly anticipated post-Mubarak presidential elections will take place.

Judges in charge of polling stations in governorates far from the capital have started arriving in groups at their destinations via military airplanes, as they will spend the night in their assigned cities prior to the first day of voting.

Judges who have been assigned to nearer cities have been sent by train, also to spend the night in their designated cities.

According to a military source, many judges have already received the empty ballot papers of the polling stations they will be presiding over, and the rest of the judges will have to receive their respective ballots by Tuesday night.

Small convoys of military vans surrounded by tanks have been circulating through the main streets of several governorates since Tuesday morning, with a military officer in each van using a loudspeaker to urge "the great Egyptian people" to participate in the democratic process and take part in voting.

Schools will be suspended on Wednesday and Thursday, as most polling stations are located on school premises. Banks and other public sector institutions employees will be allowed one day off to vote.

Military and police troops have been mobilised around Egypt's governorates, according to the polling station security plan set up by the government and the military council.

The cabinet will be monitoring the voting process through its own operation room, as announced by Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul-Naga on Tuesday morning.

Subsidiary operation rooms have been set up in various governorate administrative headquarters to monitor the polling process throughout the day.

The Ministry of Health has declared a state of highest alert in hospitals and ambulance units across the country, in preparation for any medical emergencies during the polling.

Poll stations will open at 8am and close at 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday, subject to possible extensions if turnout is larger than expected.

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