Low turnout feared for upcoming Egyptian presidential elections

World Today

A woman sits outside a polling station decorated with long pieces of cloth depicting the colours of the Egyptian flag in the capital Cairo’s central Al-Malek al-Saleh district on March 25, 2018 ahead of the vote scheduled for the following day. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED)

Egyptians are preparing to vote in their presidential election, which begins Monday.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is running for a second term with only one challenger: a former supporter called Moussa Mostafa Moussa.

CGTN’s Adel El-Mahrouky reports.

Authorities fear a repeat of the 2014 election when less than half of the electorate turned out.

The Egyptian armed forces releases a new video statement emphasizing the magnitude of its security preparations for the Presidential Election.

A militant group responded with a bomb on Saturday, targeting Alexandria’s security management bureau. Two were killed in the attack.

Earlier ISIL threatened to attack polling stations, aiming frighten citizens away from the ballots.

“It’s clear that ISIL is targeting the election. The Army’s statement is a message to give comfort to the public. To gain the people’s trust to turn out to vote. At the same time the Army is defying these groups’ threats,” political analyst Ibrahim Gad said.

There is no doubt that President EL Sisi will win. To his supporters high turnout is crucial, though.

“We must participate, the country is moving forward there is development. Our turnout will show the people’s support to that road,” Giza resident Mohamed Ramadan said.

“During all elections Egypt went through since 2011, there was strong political battle, between groups or strong candidates,” Gad added

Women are expected to dominate the vote this year. Youth represent more than half of the population – but their turnout is expected to be weak.

“I will not participate, because there is not competition in first place. The president is running alone in the race. He’s going to win any way, I won’t free my time. The elections are not important this year. Most of my friends and other youth won’t vote. To us watching a football match could be more important,” Cairo resident Ibrahim Ahmed said.

“To increase the turnout, the authorities have decided to hold the national vote for THREE days starting Monday. Egypt has around 60 Million registered voters this year. In 2014 President EL Sisi won with nearly 24 million votes.