Moderate turnout, many celebrations across governorates during 1st day of voting
Egyptians across the country on Monday began casting their ballots to decide who will be their next president, choosing between incumbent President Abdel FattahAl-Sisi,who is expected to secure a second four-year term, or his obscure rival, politician Moussa Mostafa Moussa.
Daily News Egypt contacted journalists in different governorates across the nation to gain a sense of the turnout.All of them agreed that the day witnessed moderate turnout and that the voters were mainly females. They further reported various rallies celebrating the election.
Samir Waheed, a photojournalist working for a privately-owned newspaper, told Daily News Egypt that the turnout in the governorate of Daqahleya was very high during the first few hours of voting, but then calmed down afterwards. He also described the turnout during the first day as below average, saying that in the places where high turnouts were expected,people were scarce.
“For example, on Adab Street, one of busiest areas in the governorate, where there are eight polling stations,high turnout was only seen at six stations.The majority of voters were officials and public figures of the city,” Waheed said, but he expected the turnout to increase.
Waheed also noted that many celebrations and rallies were organised by political parties and citizens in front of the polling stations, with many wearing t-shirts bearing the phrase “Long Live Egypt” or photos of candidates.
Regarding the candidates’ popularity in Daqahleya, he said all its citizens are voting for Al-Sisi.
A journalist in the governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh said that turnout is high in villages and low in the city itself, though he expected it to increase.
“Elders, parliamentarians, and clerics organised large rallies to call people to vote. For the first time, we see ‘kiddie trains’ transporting people to their polling stations.Also, we saw female school students going to rallies to support the voting process,” he said.
Sharqeya governorate witnessed high turnout across the governorate’s cities and villages amid intense security procedures, according to state media.
Abdel Rahman Fahmy, 24, residing in Sharqeya, said the turnout is lower than average,despite celebrations being more widespread than usual.
In Alexandria, more than 3.8 million people are eligible to vote. However, turnout at different polling stations was relatively moderate, although more extensive to the governorate’s west. The voters were mostly from Al-Nour Party and members of a pro-Al-Sisi campaign, without the presence of any Moussa supporters, according to Ahmed Ashour, a journalist at a privately-owned newspaper.
Photos taken by Ashour showed queues of women in full veil, apparel popular with Salafists, along with men with beards.Ashour, who visited several voting stations in theAmreya neighbourhood,as well as one in Karmouz,said that the participation was extensive,especially women’s and young people’s.
Following the 25 January revolution of 2011, various religious movements, including the Salafists, deepened their presence in Alexandria.At that time,AlNour Party was founded based on the Salafist ideology. It officially announced, in January, its support for Al-Sisi.
Meanwhile, in the Roshdy neighbourhood, where an explosion on Saturday killed two police conscripts and wounded four others after a bomb had targeted the convoy ofAlexandria Security Director Moustafa Al-Nimr, polling places were quiet in the morning, then turnout became moderate,according to journalist Shymaa Hamoda.
She took a round atTaha Hussein and Roshdy Industrial Secondary Schools, telling Daily News Egypt that there was a remarkable turnout of elderly people who believe that their votes are important, considering it a “national day.”
According to the correspondents, high turnout was seen mainly among elderly people, public figures, and females. They viewed the day’s overall turnout as moderate and expected the turnout to increase during the next two days, highlighting that people’s celebrations were the most significant feature of the day.
Queues of women in full veil, apparel popular with Salafists