Egyptians slow to vote on extra election day
The decision to extend the voting by a day may prove to be a strategic blunder unless much larger numbers of Egyptians vote
On a hastily added third day of Egypt’s presidential election on Wednesday, Egyptians were initially slow to vote after authorities struggled to get people to cast their ballots, Reuters news agency reported.
Voter turnout after two days of Egypt’s presidential elections was about 37 percent, an electoral official said Tuesday. The lower-than-expected turnout threatened to damage the credibility of the man widely forecast to win, former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“Poor backing in the election in his deeply polarized country would mean Sisi's legitimacy as head of state of the Arab world's most popular nation would be harmed at home, in the Middle East and in the wider world,” Reuters news agency reported.
On social media, Egyptians were posting pictures of empty polling stations, while a front-page headline in privately owned al-Masry al-Youm newspaper said: "The state searches for a vote."
Sisi’s campaign attempted to distance itself from the vote extension, announcing that he had objected to the decision. The campaign of his opponent, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi, also announced its objection to a third day of voting.
The decision to extend the voting by a day may prove to be a strategic blunder unless much larger numbers of Egyptians turn up to vote. Commentators have perceived the decision as a last-minute struggle to win more votes in favor of Sisi.
Three years after the historic uprising against Hosni Mubarak, the vote was set to restore a pattern of rule by men from the military after Sisi last July toppled Egypt’s first freely elected leader: Mohammad Mursi, a member of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.