Despite the volatile security conditions, Egyptian voters are adamant on heading to the polling stations Monday, saying it is the only way to restore stability to the country.
Voting in the parliamentary elections is slotted for Monday, following a week of bloody clashes between protesters and security forces that left 38 people dead.
Standing in the center of Tahrir Square, a 52-year-old vendor said that he will still cast his vote.
“Something has to happen. Even if the [situation] is dangerous due to lack of security, I will go and cast my vote, because it’s my right,” Mohamed Mostafa told Daily News Egypt.
“Something has to end this,” he said, referring to the ongoing protests in Tahrir Square.
Security concerns were voiced even prior to the clashes last week, with spectators warning against violence that may be instigated by remnants of the ousted regime.
The concerns were heightened further last week amid calls to postpone the elections until calm is restored to the country.
“I believe it should not take place because of what is happening but again if it’s taking place then I will vote. I don’t the believe security situation will be any good but we have to vote to stop certain groups from dominating the political scene,” Amina Jaheen, a retired woman, said, wondering if the “revolutionaries” will take part in the elections.
However, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces confirmed Thursday in a press conference that the elections will be held as scheduled.
“Even if it’s dangerous I will go because this is the least I could do to [help] my country,” Leenah Ashraf, a 22-year-old marketer, said.
Aya Gamal Sobhy, 22, sees the elections as the only “hope we have in such devastating conditions.”
“I'm not afraid of the lack of security. People don't care about security when they're looking for freedom, they will do anything to get it,” she said. “However, my only fear is that these elections will be rigged as it's still under the military supervision – who we don't trust anymore.”
“There is no [trust] between us and the officials,” said Soheir Mohamed, a 50-year-old cook. “Yes I will go vote even if it is under military supervision or even if there is no security,” she added.
Securing polling stations
Police General Mohamed Refaat Al-Qomsan, assistant minister of interior for administrative affairs, made a number of press appearances in which he assured that the ministry is keen on holding free and fair elections under strict judicial supervision, but most importantly under tight security conditions.
But Al-Qomsan’s tone did not change after the clashes that continued for five days. Instead, he stressed that the elections will be secured with coordination with the military police.
“We have a plan to secure the polling stations along with the armed forces that will [facilitate the voting process],” he said without elaborating, in a press conference Thursday held by SCAF to discuss the current situation.
During the same press conference, General Mokhtar Al-Molla, member of SCAF, said that the “Egyptian security is prepared for the elections.”
Popular committees that were formed after January 25 will also play a role in securing the elections as army and police generals said they will coordinate to outline a security plan.“There won’t be a problem if we coordinate with the army and police to secure our polls, I am still working with the people of my area,” said Amr Tarek El-Nahel, member of popular committee in Nasr City.
Other voters say their decision to boycott the elections is irrelevant to the security conditions.
“I will not vote because those are illegitimate elections as they are under military rule,” said Khaled Hesham, a 24-year-old engineering graduate.
A kiosk owner downtown, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that Egypt “does not deserve his participation.”
“I am not worried about the security but I am frustrated from this country after my kiosk was robbed on January 28 and again last week, and no one is helping. I am very frustrated,” he said.
By Omnia Al Desoukie