Voting for the historic Egyptian presidential elections looked to be running swimmingly today but not everything was as it appeared.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that violence broke out in the El Salmanya district of Giza and that a policeman was shot in Rod el Farag in northern Cairo.
All candidates were warned that Sunday was the official end to campaigning but many of them tried to bend the rules.
Presidential Candidate Ahmad Shafiq was referred to the Attorney General for his violations after he held a press conference this morning to try and capitalize on a last minute publicity opportunity.
Mohammed Mursi was also under suspicion after supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood contender reportedly put up campaign banners at the Lycee el Horreya School in Heliopolis, Cairo, where voters were queuing up to cast their ballot.
Intimidation, inflluencing, and sabotage
Across the board, Egyptians complained of polling station clerks recommending they vote for either Mohammed Mursi or Ahmed Shafiq, two of the leading challengers. Ahmed Taha, an activist and schoolteacher from central Cairo said some polling stations workers were targeting elderly voters to try and sway their decision.
The Egyptian Chronicle reported that there were minor scuffles at the Fatma Anan School in New Cairo when Mursi campaigners blocked centrist candidate Amr Moussa from entering the polling station. Later on followers of left-wing presidential contender Khaled Ali were reportedly blocked from voting at the Sayeda Hanifa polling station.
Along with the more controversial rule breaking there were also accusations of incompetence as stations opened before candidate representatives arrived and others didn’t bother to stamp voting papers correctly.
While not the free-for all worst case scenario that could be expected in the most populous Arab country, still new to political 'freedom', Day 1 was colored by minor violations that reminded us of the inexperience that abounded. Passions had been running high in the build up to Egypt's pioneering democratic elections, and it came as little surprise that some drama should visit election day itself.
Are these minor violations and episodes of violence regular and to be expected in these experimental pressured times for Egypt? Please share your point of view below.
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