Egypt slams western media over claims of low turnout in parliamentary elections
Ahram Online, , Tuesday 20 Oct 2015

Egypt's foreign ministry took another swipe at foreign media outlets over its coverage of the ongoing parliamentary elections that kicked off on Sunday, saying it reflects "another failed attempt to tarnish the country's image".

Western reports indicated a low turnout during the first stage of the elections on Sunday and Monday, which included 14 out of 27 governorates. Live video coverage by local media also showed many near-empty polling stations, with judges who oversaw the electoral process admitting the turnout had been lower than expected.

A statement by foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said on Monday that "attempts to jump to conclusions regarding the results and significance of the elections before the end of the first day of the first electoral phase, in order to meet publication deadlines, indicates these reports’ inaccuracy."

Abu Zeid added that such reports are implying that the opposition is absent because the "terrorist Brotherhood" is not participating.

"Anyone with a basic knowledge of Egypt’s political landscape should know that this year’s parliamentary elections are subject to many complex factors," he said, citing the development of parties, voters' awareness, electoral fatigue and the absence of polarisation.

At the end of the second day of the elections, initial estimates suggested a turnout of around 20-25 percent, which is far less than the 54 percent turnout registered in the 2011/12 parliamentary elections and the 47.5 percent in the 2014 presidential elections.

The spokesman also labelled as "misguided and misinformed" the attempts to link this year's poll to the popular support for Egypt’s leadership.

"These media outlets have consistently disregarded all positive developments in Egypt, such as the new Suez Canal Project and recent Egyptian achievements including its election to a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, the positive flow of foreign investments into the country, and the daily successes against terrorism," he added.