Women wait in line to vote at a polling station in Asmarat housing project area on March 27, 2018 - Mohamed Fawzy
CAIRO – 27 March 2018: Women have been the trump card of the 2018 presidential election so far on the second day of the election, while many registered voters were not motivated enough to participate. Albeit, most are not sending a political message with their abstention.
It was not just media outlets that noticed the high turnout of women in the election, as most of the international NGO delegations shared the same thought in their initial statements regarding the election process.
A man and a woman dance outside Qasr al-Dubara polling station in Downtown Cairo on March 27, 2018 - Ahmed Hindy
Media outlets released several photos of women standing in lines waiting to cast their ballots. Other pictures and videos showed them dancing in front of the polling stations and raising Egypt’s flag along with pictures of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
People abstain, not boycott
It has also been widely recognized that a considerable number of the electorate has been absent. A number of individuals who decided not to vote have expressed different reasons, and surprisingly, not all are of a political character. Rather, being registered in a city different from where he/she works, having no time and having never voted, among other reasons.
Media figures, officials and actors, have all called on Egyptians to take part in the election, calling it a national duty. Many of them went on to highlight that even if people disagree with the country’s current situation, they should look beyond their personal grievances for the country’s interest.
“Even if any person disagrees with the current regime or the country’s situation, he should exceed that and participate in the election for the country’s interest,” stressed T.V. host Amr Adib during his program on ON E channel on Monday.
A man dancing in Kasr al-Aini Street in downtown Cairo in celebration of the vote on March 27, 2018 - Ahmed Hindy
Hashtags emerged on Twitter on the occasion of the election, although not with much interaction. One hashtag calls on people not to vote (do not go out #ماتنزلش), attracting tweets lecturing people why they should not participate in the election. Other opposing hashtags urged people to cast their vote, mostly for Sisi.
Tight security continues, voting runs smoothly
In terms of the electoral process itself, bomb disposal experts were mobilized across Egypt’s polling stations as the country witnesses the second day of voting in the presidential election on Tuesday.
In accordance with the Ministry of Interior’s comprehensive election security plan, bomb disposal experts are also responsible for combing the areas surrounding the polling stations across Egypt, along with areas surrounding state vital institutions, churches and main streets.
On March 24, a blast that targeted Alexandria’s security chief, Major Mustafa al-Nemr, killed two policemen. Nemr survived the attack.
National Election Authority (NEA) spokesperson Mahmoud al-Sherif told Egypt Today on Tuesday that, “there have not been any complaints or obstacles during the electoral process so far and operation rooms are following the process very closely.”
Sherif added that all polling stations around the country opened at 9.00 a.m. without delay.
On Monday, the first voting day, the NEA held a press conference to review the progress of the electoral process, confirming that the national authority did not receive any complaints or obstacles. This is with the exceptional cases of three judges who suffered some illness and were replaced immediately without affecting the election process.
During the press conference, a journalist asked the NEA spokesperson about the authority’s procedures to check female voters who wear niqab. Sherif replied that the national authority deployed a female official at each polling station to check women wearing niqab.
A woman in niqab at a polling station in the Fifth Settlement, Cairo on March 26, 2018 - Mahmoud Fakhry
Brides and grooms in polling stations
Several couples across Egypt made it to the polling stations to cast their ballots on their wedding day.
Before they went home after their wedding ceremony, a newly-wed couple in the Upper Egypt governorate of Beni Suef made a stop at a polling station to cast their votes in the presidential election.
FILE - A married couple in Beni Suef cast their ballots in the Presidential
The polling station was about to close, but they insisted that they wanted to enter and cast their votes, as they wanted to do something special together for their big day, according to media reports.