Thursday,20 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)
Thursday,20 June, 2019
Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Thoughts on the election

Mai Samih takes to the street to test the general mood before the upcoming presidential elections


Thoughts on the election
Thoughts on the election

Almost a month before Egyptians go to the polls for the presidential elections, opinions on the street are mixed. Preserving the stability of the country seemed the biggest reason why voters will select President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi for a second term. Others say they are hesitant but will be encouraged if they see a strong voter turnout. Still others say they will simply not vote.

“I will vote for our current President Al-Sisi because he is a respectable person,” said Sahyoun Arminous, a shopkeeper in Giza. Arminous said he is confident there will be a high voter turnout. Voter turnout in the 2012 presidential elections was 52 per cent; in 2014 it was 47.5 per cent. It is not clear how many voters will turn out next month.

A pharmacist who chose to withhold his name is also voting for Al-Sisi. He believes the president has launched many development projects but people have not felt the pay-off from these projects because they are long-term.

“I really do not know if I will take part in the presidential elections. For me it depends on whether the polling stations are crowded,” said a private sector employee living in Cairo who chose to speak under conditions of anonymity. Nonetheless, she said those in her social circle are for participating in the elections and intend to vote for President Al-Sisi for a second presidential term because they want stability. While she finds the continuous hikes in prices annoying because it eats into her income, she too prioritises security, something which she thinks only the incumbent can provide. That is also why she thinks there are many supporters for Al-Sisi.

Ali, an elderly boatman in Manial, agrees. “Security is important so that we are able to work,” he said. “That is what may push me to vote.” 

Some people said they will not vote because they were not interested in politics or because in this election there are only two candidates, as opposed to 2012 when 13 candidates competed. In 2014, Al-Sisi and head of the Egyptian Popular Current Hamdeen Sabahi were the only two candidates.

“I don’t think I will vote,” says Fatma Mohamed, a university student in her last year.

Another private sector employee who also preferred to remain anonymous does not feel the upcoming elections are exciting enough and believes the results are a foregone conclusion. “It is not much of a race and President Al-Sisi is bound to win,” he said.

Mohamed, a porter in Manial, is also voting for Al-Sisi “because of the projects he carried out during his first term and for wanting to change the country for the better.”

The elections are scheduled for 26-28 March.

Egyptians abroad will head to their embassies and consulates from 16 to 18 March to cast their ballot.

After the first round of voting, if no run-off is required — with one candidate receiving 51 per cent or more of the vote — the winner will be announced on 2 April.

If a run-off is needed, a second round of voting will be held from 19 to 21 April for expats, and from 24 to 26 April for voters in Egypt.

The winner will be announced on 1 May.

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