A woman poses for the camera after voting in the Workers University in Cairo on March 28, 2018 - Mohamed el-Hosary
CAIRO – 28 March 2018: In response to election boycott calls, MP Salah Hasaballah, spokesperson for the House of Representatives, said that the state has mechanisms to implement Article 43 of Egypt’s election law that stipulates that “those who abstain from casting their votes in the presidential election shall be fined up to LE 500 ($28).”
He stressed that voting in elections is a national duty, pointing out that the state will enforce the election law and confront those eligible to vote in elections but unjustifiably failed to cast their ballots.
Hasaballah added in a phone call to Sada El Balad that those who have legal or health excuses that prevent them from participating in the election will be exempted from the penalty.
Media figures, officials and actors, have all called on Egyptians to take part in the election, calling it a national duty. Many of them went on to highlight that even if people disagree with the country’s current situation, they should look beyond their personal grievances for the country’s interest.
Compulsory voting laws require eligible citizens to vote in national and local elections. In some countries, penalties are imposed on citizens who did not cast their votes without a justified reason. Compulsory voting laws exist in 22 countries worldwide, while 11 countries enforce a compulsory voting law.
In some countries, violating the compulsory voting law may result in fining those who abstain, or depriving them of public sector jobs. Defenders of these laws believe that enforcing citizens to take part in political life by setting penalties for their reluctance to participate will enrich politics and decrease the possibility of rigged elections.
About 60 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in the ongoing polls to elect the country’s next president, in a race pitting the incumbent president Abdel Fatah Al Sisi against El Ghad party chairperson Moussa Moustafa Moussa.
Voting will continue until Wednesday. Polls will be opened over a twelve-hour period, from 9am till 9pm (local time).
The primary results of the first round of the election will be announced on March 29, where decisions on appeals submitted by candidates, if any, will be made. The final results of the first round will be announced on April 2. If there is a need to hold a run-off round, the Egyptian expats will cast their vote again on April 19-21. The final 2018 presidential election results are expected to be announced on May 1, if a run-off round is needed.