Low turnout in Egypt's presidential election

Election hours were extended to increase the vote.
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   May 27, 2014 at 1:42 PM
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CAIRO , May 27 (UPI) -- A low voter turnout in Egypt is compromising leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's opportunity for a mandate and new legitimacy.

The vote is in its second day, after officials extended voting hours on the first day, then declared a national holiday on the second to encourage voting. Egyptian state television reported police would help transport voters to polling stations, and Christian and Muslim leaders reminded their congregations of their religious duty to vote. Officials added a fine would be assessed for not voting.

"People, come out so that you do not complain later," elections commissioner Tarek Shebl said in a television interview.

"Anybody who does not vote is giving the kiss of life to the terrorists. Those who do not come out are traitors," television talk show host Mustafa Bakry said.

Observers reasoned that a low turnout would repudiate the 2013 ouster of deposed President Mohamed Morsi by the military, which included el-Sisi, a former general. A good turnout at the polls would vindicate el-Sisi's claim to represent a majority of Egyptian voters.

Liberal and Islamist groups advocated boycotting the election, arguing it was unfair and illegitimate in light of Morsi's removal. El-Sisi has only one opponent in the race, Hamdeen Sabahi, who is ideologically similar, leaving little doubt of the result.

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