Thu, 29 Mar 2018 - 05:14 GMT
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 - 05:14 GMT
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi praised Egyptian voters on Twitter, five minutes after polling stations shut their doors on Wednesday
CAIRO – 29 March 2018: In a stunning culmination of a populist and prodigious turnout in Egypt’s 2018 presidential election, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi attained a landslide election victory, according to early estimates after polling stations closed Wednesday after a three-day election. President Sisi competed against el-Ghad Party Moussa Moustafa Moussa.
Initial figures showed that 21,088,295 voted for Sisi in polling stations across Egypt, excluding several stations in Cairo and Giza; Moussa on the other hand gathered 682,797 votes.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi praised Egyptian voters on Twitter, five minutes after polling stations shut their doors on Wednesday, marking the end of the third and last day of voting for the first round of the presidential election.
“The voice of Egyptians is, beyond any reasonable doubt, testament of our nation's will to strongly impose itself. The scene of Egyptians queuing at polling stations is my pride and bears silent witness to our nation's greatness, whose sons have shed much blood for its future,” Sisi tweeted.
صوت جموع المصريين سيظل شاهداً - بلا شك - على أن إرادة أمتنا تفرض نفسها بقوة لا تعرف الضعف .. وستظل مشاهد المصريين أمام لجان الإقتراع محل فخرى وإعتزازى ودليلاً دامغاً على عظمة أمتنا التى قدم أغلى أبناؤها الدماء كى نعبر سوياً نحو المستقبل pic.twitter.com/3Sf4IACujM— Abdelfattah Elsisi (@AlsisiOfficial) ٢٨ مارس، ٢٠١٨
Egyptians headed to the polls from March 26 to 28 to cast their votes for the 2018 presidential election between incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Head of Al-Ghad party Moussa Moustafa Moussa.
Alexandria, Cairo, Giza and North Sinai governorates have recorded the highest turnout, according to a statement by the Supreme Media Council late on Tuesday.
For his part, candidate Moussa said that "the initial indicators of presidential polls showed my defeat, however I am pleased with the result whatever it is,” in a phone call to CBC Extra.
Moussa, the sole contender of incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, added that the voting process was positive, expecting that the turnout will exceed 50 percent.
Moussa further added that the Egyptian people are the actual winner in the election, stressing his willingness to cooperate with President Sisi in his next four-year term.
Polling stations nationwide started sorting and counting ballots late Wednesday, with initial indicators showing that Sisi obtained about 90 percent of the votes.
In an earlier interview with the Guardian, Moussa said he was optimistic about his chances of beating his sole challenger, President Sisi.
Moussa also affirmed that he is a real competitor and not a puppet, saying, “Whoever wants a puppet can get one from the other 104 political parties. He cannot make a puppet out of me.”
It was not just media outlets that noticed the high turnout of women in the election, as most of the international NGO delegations shared the same thought in their initial statements regarding the election process.
Media outlets released several photos of women standing in lines waiting to cast their ballots. Other pictures and videos showed them dancing in front of the polling stations and raising Egypt’s flag along with pictures of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
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.
Several national and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) monitoring the election confirmed that the electoral process in Egypt has met international standards.
Egyptian voters are not only exercising their constitutional right to partake in the electoral process, but they are also doing so with reasonability and accountability, Dalia Ziada, president of the Liberal Democracy Institute, said Wednesday.
Given that the Liberal Democracy Institute is one of the NGOs permitted by the National Election Authority (NEA) to monitor the electoral process, Ziada said that there were no major problems or violations observed by the institute, except for some minor issues related to the voting of people whose current addresses were different than those stated in their national IDs.
She further illustrated that those problems emerged as there were no sufficient media campaigns available to address such issues.
In her interview with the TV satellite channel ON Live on Wednesday, Ziada contended that Egyptians’ participation in the presidential election is a deterrent to terrorism and to countries that sponsor it.
Moreover, Riyadh Issa, president of the Nazaha (Integrity) Organization, which has a lot of experience under its belt in observing international elections, said the standards set by the NEA concerning the electoral process match international standards.
In his interview with ON Live on Wednesday, Issa said the organization observed some minor violations, which will be briefed to the media in the organization’s forthcoming report.
There were some electoral silence breaches observed and other violations committed in some polling stations where electoral propaganda for candidates was observed, Issa added.
The role of the organization goes beyond issuing reports assessing political life in Egypt, Issa stressed.
The organization’s role is to ensure that electoral laws and regulations adhere to international standards, and of ensuring the integrity and credibility of the electoral process, along with assessing the candidates’ registration and the fairness of the electoral campaigning. This is in addition to monitoring the whole electoral process through all its phases.
He concluded by emphasizing that there is no need to impose fines on boycotters, as a remarkably high turnout was recorded.
Ayman Okail, spokesman for Nazaha, said the coalition consists of 560 local and 35 international observers who work according to agreed-upon criteria for free and fair elections.
"If there is anything illegal in the election, we will issue reports," Okail said during his interview with Sabah On, which aired on ON Live on Sunday.
According to the NEA, 18,000 judges were observing the process, with nearly 110,000 election officials deployed to ensure that voting procedures are properly followed.
A total of 54 local organizations, nine international organizations and 680 foreign correspondents received permits to observe the electoral process in Egypt.
Foreign media such as CNN and BBC have published positive reports about the presidential election, and no trespasses have been observed from the foreign coverage, except for the coverage of both Al-Jazeera channel and Turkish channels, according to Mohammed Imam, head of the State Information Service’s (SIS) operations room.
Through its operations rooms, SIS continued to communicate with foreign correspondents, who had been following the election process since voting started on Monday, March 26.
Imam mentioned that the long queues before the polling stations forced foreign media to be neutral while covering the election, and he called for more people to go to the polls and practice their right to vote.
He further remarked that SIS responds to any foreign reports publishing false information about the election.
Mohammed Alam El-Din, member of the National Press Authority, said that the high turnout in the presidential election foiled all attempts of foreign media to spread rumors about Egypt.
Alam El-Din remarked that some foreign media channels have claimed that Egyptians will not participate in the presidential election; however, the high turnout reflects the reality.
He praised the transparency under which the election is being conducted, adding that Egyptians choose stability and development.
On the first day of the election, the foreign correspondents’ media coverage did not report any complaints.
“During the period extending from 6 p.m. until polls close at 9 p.m. in a number of governorates, staff of the SIS operations room communicated with the representatives of 72 media outlets, out of which 50 are accredited resident correspondents, and no complaints have been received," the SIS statement read.
On the other hand, SIS Chairman Diaa Rashwan received a number of resident and visiting correspondents who were unable to get permits to cover the election.
"Most foreign media outlets asserted that the turnout will be the barometer of success of the process and the winning president, not the percentage that the winner will get," said the SIS report.
“Henceforth, instant contacts have been made with the National Elections Authority and permits were issued to 16 correspondents," read the statement.
The statement added that the SIS operations room works around the clock and keeps all channels of communication open with all resident and visiting correspondents, with the aim of solving any problems that may encounter.
SIS contacted 110 foreign media outlets on the first day of the voting process. The operations room received 19 complaints and inquiries from correspondents regarding their entrance to polling stations, and it solved them all, according to the statement.
Official figures showed 000000 voted in the elections out of 00000 registered votes, a turnout of 00000%, with Sisi winning with 0000 million votes, while Moussa received 0000 votes.
Candidates were able to apply for nomination to the presidency between January 20 and 29, 2018. The final list of candidates approved by the National Election Authority (NEA) was announced on February 24.
Candidates were allowed to spend a maximum of LE20 million for campaigning and to accept campaign donations of up to two percent of the total allowed campaign expenditures. Law No. 45 of 2014 constrains the content of campaigns, including prohibitions on the use of religious slogans, calls for discrimination or threats to national unity.
Egyptians who are above the age of 18 have the right to vote. Eligible voters for this year’s presidential election are 59 million. Active members of the Armed Forces and police are not allowed to vote. Article 2 of the political rights law (Law 45/2014) bans from voting those who suffer from mental disorders or are under judicial interdiction, or who have been convicted of a felony.
The first round of voting was held for Egyptians abroad on March 16-18. Voting inside Egypt was conducted for three days on March 26-28. Polls were opened over a twelve-hour period, from 9am till 9pm (local time), except the last day as the voting was extended to 10pm.
There are 59.78 million eligible voters in Egypt distributed over 13,706 sub-polling stations.
The preliminary results of the first round of the election was scheduled 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, Egyptian expats will cast their votes again on April 19-21. Those in Egypt will cast their votes on April 24-26. The final 2018 presidential election result is expected to be announced on May 1.
According to the NEA, the presidential election was supervised by 18,620 judges (primary and substitute), including 8,420 regular judges, 4,800 administrative prosecutors, 3,300 judges from the State Lawsuits Authority and 2,100 judges from the State Council.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdy Sanad Loza said on Thursday that five regional and international organizations will participate in observing the presidential election nationwide. These are the Arab League (AL), African Union (AU), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly and COMESA-CENSAD.