Egypt hopes for increased voter turnout in second day of elections
Egyptian officials sit in an empty polling station in Cairo's Giza district, on the second day voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections on October 19, 2015. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)
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Polling stations opened Monday for the second and final day of the first phase of the parliamentary elections covering the governorates of Giza, Alexandria, Matruh, Beheira, Aswan, Luxor, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Red Sea, New Valley, Fayoum and Beni Suef.
The cabinet decided Sunday that the public sector would be working Monday for “half a day,” amid scepticism that such a measure will enhance more participation into Egypt’s ongoing parliamentary elections, after the turnout was exceptionally low on the first day.
For the same reason the voting hours for Egyptians abroad had been extended, namely in Kuwait, to end at 6am on Monday, the same time elections concluded in the United States.
On Sunday evening, the spokesperson of the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) Omar Marwan said that a technical issue in the servers in Kuwait resulted in the obstruction of the electoral process for “10 minutes, then it was fixed”.
Marwan denied that the government’s decision regarding working hours Monday was suggested by the SEC. He also denied issuing any official percentages on participation rates, after local media reported 1% to 2% earlier that day.
TV hosts such as Mohamed Sherdi from Al-Mehwer TV and Youssef Al-Hosseiny from ONTV mocked the government’s decision saying it was not going to encourage voters, who have other issues than lack of time, which is lack of knowledge and motivation towards the candidates.
Most governorates reported low and below medium participation ranging from 10% to 15%. Several electoral experts such as Ayman Okeil, director of Maat and coordinator of the international observation mission in Egypt expected a second round would be necessary for almost 90% of the candidates.
Second rounds are scheduled for 26, 27 and 28 October.
By Amira el-Fekki
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