Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1388, (5 - 11 April 2018)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1388, (5 - 11 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Deep-rooted trust

The results of the presidential elections were the main focus of the press this week. Headlines highlighted the importance of the event as well as the large-scale participation.

Al-Ahram quoted the president as telling the people “I renew my pledge to you to achieve development and stability”. The banner of a special section prepared by Al-Youm Al-Sabei had ‘People elect the president: Al-Sisi wins second term with 97.8%’ and Al-Watan banner blared, ‘Al-Sisi after his official win: my trust in Egyptians is deep-rooted.’

Mahmoud Saadeddin noted four important factors in the elections, the first being the turnout which reached 41.05%. That percentage, he wrote, exceeded the expectations as well as the hope of political circles which expected around a 38% turnout.

The second concerns Egyptian expatriates. Saadeddin pointed out that expat turnout was less than that of the 2014 elections -- 165,000 votes against 313,000 in 2014. That is why we need to stop at that figure and find the reasons behind the low turnout especially in countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Saadeddin said.

Third were invalid votes which were less than 2014, which is why, Saadeddin wrote, we should not dwell too much on the figure. Fourth is the difference in votes that Hamdeen Sabahi got in 2014 and Moussa Mustafa Moussa received in 2018. The difference of 101,000 was far less than expected.

“The figures that the election produced still need more analysis as they present indications and shed light on voting behaviour of Egyptians and how they view the president as well as the other parties in the political scene,” Saadeddin wrote in the daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei.

Salah Montasser asked in Al-Ahram why we are no longer frightened. Two days before the elections, Montasser wrote, a failed assassination attempt in Alexandria was intended to scare people and force them to stay home rather than go out and vote. However, he added, in a clear challenge to terrorism, voters flocked to the polling stations.

“Egypt lived through a spectacular festival during the three-day election, enjoying a high turnout that surpassed expectations. However, the number of invalid votes is a cause for concern. If they were against Al-Sisi, why didn’t they vote for Moussa? And if they did not want either, why go to the polling stations?” Montasser asked.

The important thing, he added, is that the Egyptian street has changed during the last three years. Instead of being scared off by an explosion or fearing one that might happen, Egyptians are living their lives normally without being deterred by the threat of terrorism.

Anisa Hassouna shared with readers her voting experience in a women’s polling station that she said was very busy. Hassouna noted the organisation in the station and the noticeable respect accorded the voters, especially the elderly.

In light of Hassouna’s experience, she questioned in the daily Al-Masy Al-Youm why some people attacked the election. Do they hate it in principle? Or do they expect that it will be rigged to guarantee the victory of a certain candidate? Invalid votes together with votes that went to the candidate opposing the president were proof that their expectations were false.

Wrote Hassouna: “My question is when will we stop criticising elections and look at their democratic benefits?”

By Anwar Jabr, Al-Masry Al-Youm

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