Live updates: Egyptians head to the polls for day 2 of parliamentary vote

Throughout the day, Mada Masr reporters and local correspondents will be providing updates on the first stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections. See below for a running timeline on day two of the polls.

10 pm: Vote counting begins, but official results won’t be announced before Wednesday or Thursday

Vote counting has begun now that polling stations across the country have shuttered their doors on the second and final day of voting, High Elections Commission (HEC) spokesperson Omar Marwan said in a press conference late Monday.

The final results likely won’t be announced until Wednesday or Thursday, he said, but the results of the overseas vote would be announced before midnight on Monday.

Representatives of the parliamentary candidates, civil society observers and members of the press are observing the counting process, Marwan said.

The HEC is also waiting to announce the official turnout numbers.

Marwan said the HEC received 289 complaints of electoral violations on Monday, most of which weren’t “real or serious.” 

9 pm: Slight spike in Alexandria voter numbers, campaign violations persist

As the polls closed on Monday night, judge Abdullah al-Kholy told Mada Masr that voter turnout in Alexandria reached 15 percent today.

In the coastal governorate’s Karmouz district, polling station supervisor Gamal Abu Wafia said that 220 out of 2,033 registered voters came to the polls Monday, most of whom were senior citizens.

Ahmed Gamal told Mada that only 70 out of 2,000 registered voters cast their ballots at the polling station he managed.

In the Mina al-Basal constituency, Hamed Shaaban said the turnout at the polling station he supervised was relatively better than on Sunday.

Tales of the same campaign violations reported across the country on both days of voting continued across Alexandria on Monday. Observers said campaign posters were still displayed in front of several polling stations, despite officials’ vows to have them all removed.

Moataz al-Shennawy, a candidate for the Socialist Popular Alliance Party in Mina al-Basal, sent a formal complaint to the interior minister, prosecutor general and head of the HEC accusing other candidates of buying votes.

According to a party statement, Shennawy criticized the authorities for failing to take action against these violations, which he said threatened the integrity of the elections.

8 pm: Apathy, confusion and old regime candidates in Giza

With a steady trickle of voters in the last hours of polling, the Abu Bakr al-Sediq men’s polling station was faring well compared to other polling stations Mada Masr visited in Al-Saf, Giza, a district located on Cairo’s southern outskirts.

But the story was different this morning, voters tell Mada Masr.

“I tried voting yesterday and they were closed until noon. Today I came again but they were closed until past 11 am, so I came again tonight to cast my ballot,” said voter Mohamed al-Kheshen.

The polls are supposed to open at 9 am.

According to Kheshen and other voters at the polling station, the three front-runners in the district are all retired police officers who are also former members of ex-President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. With 12 independent candidates competing for two seats, voters are choosing well-connected candidates who are already household names in the area.

“Those that come, come for a particular candidate who they know and feel strongly about,” said voter Alaa Tantawy.

The list system has proven to be confusing, added voter Hany Amin. “Many people don’t know how to deal with the list system. They are looking for a particular candidate and the list has confused them,” he explained.

Illiteracy, which is particularly high in rural areas, is further contributing to the confusion over ballots, Amin said.

“Given what I’ve heard from people coming out, there’s lots of confusion. I expect many ballots will be invalidated because of this,” he predicted.

As in other polling stations, voters attributed low turnout to apathy and disillusionment.

“Lots of people in this area are farmers, and they don’t have time to go out and vote. They’ve lost hope in the electoral process to a large extent, and this is primarily due to inflation and rising prices for commodities,” said Alaa Tantawy. “Those that come, come for a particular candidate who they know and feel strongly about.”

Tantawy also points to the exclusion of Muslim Brotherhood candidates, who in past elections energized both their supporters and their opponents.

Without traditional pre-election gifts of beef, sugar, oil and other household items from Brotherhood candidates, many voters simply didn’t bother to come out, he said. Meanwhile, without the motivation of voting against a Brotherhood candidate, voters who have long opposed the group’s influence also stayed home.

Vote you ingrates, Sisi takes selfies with you!

Voices from the capital carried a slightly different message. Magdy Bassiouny, former assistant interior minister, took to national television today to scold the youth for not voting.

“When I find a caretaker interested in me, shouldn’t I reciprocate?” he asked, referring to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“Let’s take a look at his pictures. At any meeting, he stops the youth on the street and takes those pictures … what are they called … selfies!” Bassiouny said. “The president has taken so many selfies with the youth, that you can’t even see him in the picture. He never forgets you in meetings or anywhere.”

“And how do you repay him?” Bassiouny asked. “If you’re still under the covers, get up and participate. Use your voice, choose whoever you want.”

“This is wrong,” he concluded. “If they told you to go down to the coffee shop and smoke shisha, you would go.”

7 pm: Voters blame apathy on lack of change, but say Sisi enticed women to polls

“Most people are staying away from the elections because they are fed up with the lack of change. There have been many elections and votes and referendums, but the conditions stay the same,” a woman who asked not to be named told Mada Masr outside the Al-Saf Vocational High School polling station in Giza’s Al-Saf district.

“Look at this unpaved road, look at the price of vegetables and other food commodities, look at the employment situation,” she said. “The lack of change is keeping voters away. They have lost faith in the whole process.”

When asked why she came out to cast her vote, she responded, “Because Sisi told us to participate.” She said the higher turnout among women was thanks to Sisi’s televised address Saturday, in which he called on women in particular to do their patriotic duty as the mothers of the nation.

Overall, voters at the women’s polling place told Mada Masr that turnout was slightly higher on Monday than the day before, in part because public sector employees were given a half-day off work to encourage them to head out and vote.

Most people that Mada Masr spoke to said they voted for electoral lists, with For the Love of Egypt appearing to be the most popular.

At Al-Saf Primary School, a men’s polling station in the district, independent candidate and ex-Nour Party member Hamdy Haroun estimated that only 13 percent of registered voters came out on Sunday. But he told Mada Masr that Monday’s numbers might be slightly higher.

More voters were showing up to polling stations on the district’s agricultural periphery than in the urban center, Haroun campaigners told Mada Masr, adding that farmers are more likely to vote than city dwellers.

Mada Masr’s correspondent in the area saw no lines at either men’s or women’s polling stations, even as trucks equipped with megaphones drove through the streets blasting pleas to come out and vote.

5 pm: Campaigners buying votes for up to LE400, woman investigated for trying to vote with someone else’s ID

A journalist in Aswan wasn’t allowed to cover voting there, even though they had the correct permit from the HEC, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) said early Monday evening.

There were also more reports of vote-buying on Monday, with campaigns offering LE50 per vote in Beheira. The price went up to LE200 in Fayoum, as long as voters offered a picture of their ballot to prove who they voted for, the EOHR reported.

Alexandria residents were offered the most attractive bribes for their votes, which were going for LE300-400, according to the EOHR.

Police and military forces had to intervene in Fayoum after a fight broke out between rival campaigns, the report continued. Violence was also reported at polling stations in Assiut and Minya.

But despite these reports, Mohamed Abdu Saleh, spokesperson for the Judges Club elections operation room, insisted that the second day of elections was going smoothly and voters of all ages were heading to the polls.

The Judges Club only received a very small number of complaints on Monday, Saleh said. He noted that one case of a woman wearing niqab who tried to vote with someone else’s ID card was being investigated.

4 pm: What are people’s motivations for voting or abstaining?

“I’m going to vote tomorrow for Egypt’s sake,” tweeted XforMoody.

Twitter picture

Twitter picture

“I supported candidate Mohamed Abbas Anany because he supports all needy people. He helped us all during the Eid holidays, and monetarily supported our family ahead of my daughter’s wedding,” a woman outside Al-Shaheed Atef al-Islamboli School in Badrashin, South Giza told Mada Masr.

“I’m not voting, as these [elections] are flawed and conducted by a corrupt and oppressive regime,” commented a man in Kababgy, Hawamdeya.

“I went to vote for stability for my country, to return the favor to Sisi and the military who protected me from the fate of other countries where you can’t go down and state your opinion,” another Twitter user wrote

Twitter picture

Twitter picture

Saber, a taxi driver in Assiut, said he voted in keeping with his religion. As a Copt, his priority was to choose a Coptic candidate that is “one of us,” and to go for the strongest candidate so as not to divide the Coptic vote. 

Islam Rabie, a young lawyer in Assiut, boycotted for the first time in his life. He used to vote for the National Democratic Party, but said he has now realized that all candidates are only serving themselves and will never help improve his situation.

“I voted for the candidate who supports President Sisi the most — that is [retired] Major General Bakr Abu Ghareeb,” said a woman who voted at Al-Shaheed Atef al-Islamboli School.

3 pm: TV presenters beg people to vote as turnout remains low

“You know your responsibility: Tomorrow, every one of you go to your polling station and vote for who you want. That is your responsibility to your country. In front of the whole world, we must vote and finish the last stage” of the transitional roadmap, Ahmed Moussa told Egyptians during his show on the privately owned Sada al-Balad channel. 

“We have no other option,” Moussa continued. “Please give your vote, please give your vote!” He assured people that polling stations were safe, adding, “The country is secure, the police are there, the military are there, all so you can vote.”

Amr Adeeb, the host of Al-Qahera Al-Youm (Cairo Today), also emphasized the responsibility of citizens to vote. Police officers are roaming the streets “like lions” to keep the elections secure, he said, and “anyone with patriotism should cast their vote out of gratitude.”

CBC host Khairy Ramadan repeatedly asked voters, “What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you going out?”

If the parliament turns out badly, it will be the responsibility of the people who didn’t vote, he claimed. “People are taking this chance to spend time with their families,” he added. “Your family, if you don’t choose a good parliament, will not have a good future.”

2 pm: One natural death, minor clashes and violations, reports NCHR

The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) issued a report covering the first day of elections that documented widespread campaigning violations and minor clashes across the country. 

The report detailed electoral bribes on behalf of candidates Sami Shawer in Beheira and Rizk Ragheb in Alexandria.

The council also documented complaints regarding lack of facilities for voters with special needs. 

Voting in Badrashin, South Giza on Sunday

Voting in Badrashin, South Giza on Sunday

There was one death from natural causes and 11 people were injured in scuffles around polling stations. 

The report also mentioned the late opening of several polling stations on Sunday due to the tardiness of supervising judges, which led to the merging of several polling stations in some areas.

Reports of late openings also circulated on Monday, when 80 polling stations opened late in Beheira, according to the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.

1 pm: Alexandria urges citizens to vote, offers free transportation 

Voting in Alexandria on day 2

Voting in Alexandria on day 2

Alexandria Governor Hany al-Messeiry issued a statement on Monday declaring that public transportation would be free from 1 pm to 9 pm, and encouraging all citizens to head to the polls to choose their representatives. 

“Vote or otherwise don’t complain about any decisions that are made on your behalf,” he asserted.

Turnout has been low across the country since polls opened on Sunday. Mada Masr’s correspondent in Alexandria observed consistently low turnout on Monday morning and a noticeable absence of young voters. 

The Youth and Sports Directorate in Alexandria is preparing a convoy that will circle the city and call on people to participate, according to a statement issued by the directorate. 

12 noon: ‘Nobody went’ circulated on social media, reports of 4 percent voter turnout

The hashtag  #محدش_راح (nobody went) was circulating widely on Twitter on Sunday and Monday, with over 58,000 Twitter users mentioning the dismal turnout for the parliamentary elections.

The EOHR released a report stating that turnout at the polls on Sunday did not exceed 4 percent, Al-Ahram reported.

Social media users posted pictures of empty polling stations using the hashtag. Haythem Abu Khalil posted a picture of a soldier standing outside a completely empty voting place.

Empty polling station

Empty polling station

“They say that the turnout rate is 2 percent. Every candidate can invite those who voted for him to dinner,” Mohamed al-Motwaly tweeted.

Responding to media figures castigating the youth for not going to the polls, another user tweeted, “How ironic that the media is asking about youth participation. The revolutionary youth has been stolen. The youth are depressed, have been killed, detained, and are praying to leave the country every day.”

A tweet from a parody Sisi account linked to a video of an elderly woman voting. When asked by the camera operator if she knew who she was voting for, she said, “No, I don’t know who,” before adding, “the deceased.”

11 am: Tribalism drives the vote in Assiut

Due to fierce competition between large families and tribes, the electoral constituency of Abu Tig in Assiut is one of a few across the country that has witnessed high turnout.  

Omran Abu Akrab, whose family has maintained its seat in parliament since the 1970s, is one of the most prominent candidates. Other members of large families running and driving the competition are Alaa Ammar, Alaa Khairalah (a former military officer) and Ahmed Abu Aleem.

Local council employee Hajja Nafeesa is also running. Though she is from the prominent Ashraf family, it is unusual for women to run in this area. While many men have refused to vote for a woman, she’s been popular among women voters. 

In the neighboring constituency of Assiut City, turnout remains low. The black horse is former parliamentarian Mohamed Hamdy al-Dessouky, a former member of Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP). He is known for providing services in his area, which has given him an edge with voters.

Two candidates who have financial backing and have been campaigning rigorously are Ahmed Alam Shaltout and Mostafa Abu Bakr. Former NDP parliamentarian Mohamed al-Sahafy and Ibrahim Khashaba, who is running with the Future of a Nation Party, are also from prominent families. 

Coptic candidates Tadros Kaldes, a former general, and Emad Awny, an architect, are depending on votes from Assiut’s large Coptic population. 

Hossam Mostafa of the Social Democratic Party and Ayman Othman of the Free Egyptians Party are suffering from the low turnout among young voters, who make up their base support. 

A bus transporting voters to the Khayat School polling station in Assiut City was covered in posters, as captured by Mada Masr:

Bus in Assiut City

Bus in Assiut City

10 am: Foreign polls start to come in, state employees given a half-day to vote

Polling numbers from Egyptian voters living in Kuwait and Washington DC have come in, reported Al-Ahram. In both countries, the majority of people cast their ballots for the pro-government For the Love of Egypt list, which is the only electoral list running in all four constituencies: Cairo, the West Delta, the East Delta and Upper Egypt.

The prime minister announced late last night that government employees would be given a half-day off work in an effort to boost turnout.

Numbers at the polling stations remained low throughout the first day of voting and the majority of voters were elderly, with very few in the 18-21 age bracket showing up.

9 am: Polling stations open, second day of elections begins

Polling stations are due to open at 9 am in 14 governorates for the second day of voting in the first stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections. They are due to close at 9 pm, with a short break in the afternoon. This is the last day of voting for these areas, although there could be run-offs in constituencies where no one candidate garners 50 percent of the vote.

As the polls closed at the end of the first day on Sunday evening, observers and judicial sources reported a low turnout, but the High Elections Commission said it would not release official participation numbers until the first phase of elections ends on Monday evening.

Sunday’s vote was marked by widespread confusion regarding the electoral lists, according to correspondents across the country, as well as reports of flagrant campaign violations.

“I’m not sure how the list system works. I think I may have incorrectly marked my ballot,” Mostafa Mohamed told Mada Masr after he voted outside the largely empty Ahmed Oraby school in Badrashin.

Observers also reported that several polling stations opened late on the first day when judges didn’t arrive on time, and some elections monitors weren’t allowed to enter.

Voting in the first round of elections is taking place in the Upper Egypt and West Delta governorates of Giza, Alexandria, Fayoum, Matrouh, Beheira, the Red Sea, Aswan, Luxor, Qena, Sohag, the New Valley, Assiut, Minya and Beni Suef. Egyptians abroad voted on October 17-18. 

Votes in this round will be cast for 286 seats, 226 of which will go to individual candidates and the remaining 60 to electoral lists.

The final results of the first stage will be announced on October 30, with the second round of the poll on November 22-23.

According to the new parliamentary elections law, individual candidates account for 80 percent of seats in the new parliament, with lists accounting for one-fifth. This has raised concerns that parties will have less influence, while individuals with money, power and familial connections will have a greater political advantage.

Egypt has been without a legislative body since June 2012. One of the first tasks of the new parliament during its first 15 days will be to discuss and review the hundreds of laws passed before it was seated.

For more information on parties and key players in the elections, check out Mada Masr’s infographic on who’s who in the elections. 

For a breakdown of electoral lists, individual seats and geographical distribution of voting, see Mada Masr’s elections explainer.


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