In scorching hot summer weather, Egyptians headed to the polls today and will continue to do so tomorrow to choose a new president, the first since the 25 January 2011 Revolution.
In scorching hot summer weather, Egyptians headed to the polls today and will continue to do so tomorrow to choose a new president, the first since the 25 January 2011 Revolution. Turnout varied in different spots in the country; some places saw long lines of voters who waited for hours to cast their ballots, others witnessed poor turnout. There were predictions that many voters will wait for the cooler weather after sunset to cast their ballots. The polling stations are open till 8:00pm local time.
In the north Cairo suburb of Shubra, a district known for its large Coptic population, a survey among the voters leaving the polling stations after casting their ballots revealed wide support to the liberal independent candidate Lieutenant General Ahmed Shafik and to the leftist independent Hamdein Sabahy. Shafik’s supporters agreed that, even though Shafik is considered a remnant of the old regime—Shafik was the last Prime Minister appointed by Mubarak—they believe that he is the sole candidate able to restore security and stability if he becomes president of Egypt. Sabahy’s supporters say that they voted for him because they saw in sympathy with the suffering of the poor, and that once in power he will work to ease their hardship.
In Old Cairo, where the turnout in the morning was poor, supporters of the Freedom and Justice Party’s Islamist candidate Mohamed Mursi invited voters to coffeshops where, using laptop computers, they would help guide the voters to the polling stations where they were registered. Once inside, however, Mursi’s supporters attempted to persuade the voters to vote for the Islamist candidate. A Coptic absence from the Old Cairo polling stations was noticeable.
Arriving to Cairo from Beheira after casting his ballot, the acting patriarch Anba Pachomeus confirmed that participating in the elections for Egypt’s president is a national duty. He pointed out that Copts, just as all Egyptians, should elect the president who can steer the nation towards justice and a civil State in order to build a modern country.
The head of the Evangelical Church in Egypt Safwat al-Bayadi told Watani that the polling station where his name is registered in East Cairo was packed full of voters who lined up since the early morning to cast their ballots. It was impossible for him to queue among the thousands of voters, since he had other business to tend to, he said. “I’ll go back later this afternoon to vote, hoping it will be less crowded,” Dr Bayadi said.
Dr Bayadi expressed his amazement at the “huge” turnout especially, as he pointed out, that there is still no constitution which stipulates the new president’s authorities.
23 May 2012
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