Egyptian men dance outside a polling station in Alexandria after casting their votes - Egypt Today/Hanaa Abo Elez
CAIRO – 27 March 2018: Only in Egypt can Egyptian nationals be seen standing in front of polling stations waiting to vote to the tune of “Abu elrogola” (Father of Manhood), a song by renowned pop singer Hakim, calling on people to participate.
Nearby, a group of middle-aged women dance to the song "Bushret Kheir" (Good Omen) by Emirati singer Hussain al-Jasmi while holding pictures of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and showing inked fingers outside polling stations.
Hakim released his joyful song calling on everyone to cast their vote; however, the video clip only shows Egyptians celebrating and carrying the flag, and does not include Sisi in the lyrics or the clip.
Since its release on YouTube a week ago, it has amassed over a half million views and was shared thousands of times on social media sites. Ironically, some of the abstainers and boycotters shared the clip, admiring the tune and music.
Though Jasmi’s “Bushret Kheir” was released to encourage Egyptians to vote in the 2014 presidential election, the song is still playing in front of polling stations in the 2018 presidential election.
Its lyrics, written by Egyptian songwriter Ayman Bahjat Qamar, state, “What has Egypt gained from your silence? Don’t deny it your vote. You’re determining tomorrow on your terms. This is a good omen.” The music is by Egyptian composer Amr Moustafa.
Jasmi repeated the same experience on March 14, releasing the tune “Good Evening, President”, where numerous celebrities play different professions in a happy mood. Although the name of Sisi, scenes of him or his images filling the streets today do not appear in the video clip, the signs of his campaign slogan, “Tahya Masr” (Long Live Egypt), are featured repeatedly. The characters also casually perform the military salute.
Trucks carrying large speakers are seen extensively on the Egyptian streets blasting nationalistic and pro-military pop songs, encouraging people to take part in the vote.
Dancing and singing has always been Egyptians’ unique way to express joy and excitement. People dance to songs outside polling stations to express their happiness at participating in the election.
The videos of Egyptian women who dance outside polling stations have gone viral on social media sites, asking about the link between the election process and dancing. Moreover, they claimed that these Egyptian women distort the image of Egypt abroad.
On the other side, some argue that these women have the complete freedom to express their happiness in any way they want and no one has the right to mock them
Egyptians headed to the polls on Tuesday for the second day of the presidential election to cast their vote for their preferred candidate.
Although no official reports were released regarding the size of turnout on the first day, Monday, the participation of women and elderly was reported to be remarkable in different governorates.
Signs of joy were clear in highly crowded polling stations, where many voters sang national songs and danced outside schools serving as polling stations.
The National Election Authority (NEA) is ready for higher voter participation on the second and third day of the election. The NEA has called on all Egyptians to participation in the vote.
Some governorates, like Alexandria, Cairo and Giza, witnessed high turnout, according to governors and officials. North Sinai's Arish and Beir el-Abd cities recorded the highest turnout among Egyptian cities, comparing the number of participants to the number of registered voters, according to Ali Haridy, head of the Cabinet’s operations room designated to following the election.
The 2018 presidential election is the third to take place in Egypt since the January 2011 revolution.