Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sisi wins big, but voter turnout was low

Tahrir square

Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is Egypt's new president after securing a landslide victory of over 96 percent of the  vote, with over 23 million voters casting their ballots for him, according to an unofficial vote count as of early Thursday.
El-Sisi's only contender, leftist Hamdeen Sabahi, garnered a humble 3.5 percent, with less than 800,000 votes.
A surprise in the 2014 presidential race was the number of invalidated votes – exceeding 1 million – which prompted Egyptians to joke on social media that Sabahi and the spoilt ballots were competing for second place in the election.
The count is still unofficial. Judge Tarek Shebl, a member of the general secretariat of the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC), told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website early on Thursday that the official results will be announced either Sunday or Monday, 1 or 2 June.
Turnout was 47,9 percent of Egypt's 54 million voters, according to the official, judicial sources. That would still be far below the 40 million votes, or 80 percent of the electorate, that Sisi had called for last week.
But the offical number were contested. A tour of Cairo polling stations on Wednesday saw only a trickle of voters.The same pattern emerged in Egypt's second city, Alexandria, Reuters reporters said.And according to The Egyptian Center for Media and Public Opinion Studies, known  as Takamol Masr, the turnout in the initial two days of the elections reached only 7.5 percent of the total number of people listed. The low turnout was especially evidenced by what some would consider a desperate move by the High Elections Commission, deciding on Tuesday to extend the presidential voting one more day.
Takamol Masr released a report disclosing that almost 4,004,000 Egyptians cast their votes during the first two days of the elections 26 and 27 May 2014.The center estimated the number of participants in the presidential election in 2014 with the help of 53 researchers and 297 volunteers.
These numbers contrast with the statement from General Hani Abdul Latif, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, who told the privately owned MBC Misr that the turnout indices have reached around 30 to 35 percent of the enrolled electoral rolls in the first couple of days.
The center reporter that the largest turnout of voters was in Qena governorate by 10.5 percent, and the lowest was in Marsa Matrouh with 1.2 percent. While the percentage of voters in the biggest two cities Cairo and Alexandria were 9.8 percent and 6.7 percent respectively.

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