By Ahmed Abbas
Away from the Giza governorate, which has all media attention, voting for the parliamentary elections have also taken place in 13 other governorates. They all witnessed low turnouts.
In Alexandria, Governor Hani El-Missiri ordered the public transport sector to work free of charge from 1pm to 9 pm to encourage voters to reach the polling stations. The governorate also asked all public sector workers to participate in the election process. In a statement sent to journalists by email, the Sport & Youth Directorate said it will start a car parade to motivate voters in Alexandria.
Alexandria based photographer Doaa Gaber took a tour Monday in some poll centres. “I can say that the number of the voters on Monday is much better than Tuesday but the general turn out is still low,” Gaber said. She added said the majority of voters are old citizens who do not know what to do or who to vote for.
Doaa recorded a video that went viral on social media of an aged woman saying that she voted for “Hajj Gharib, may he rest in peace”. On the second day, Gaber noticed some candidates are mobilising voters by cars to vote for them, especially in the neighborhood of Moharem Bey.
Voters in Alexandria form 5.5% of the total registered voters in the state. They are choosing 25 individual candidates in addition to a list of 15 candidates to represent Alexandria, Matruh, and Beheira.
In Fayoum, police defused a bomb which was found in Quhafa School on the first electoral day. Rabab El-Gali, a journalist living in Fayoum, said locals reported more bombs “but all of them were false alarms”. She said some polling stations started hours late, especially in the cities of Etsa and Sanourous.
“I understand that some polling stations can start late on the first day because the judges do not know how to reach them, but starting late on the second day is unjustified,” El-Gali said and that there were some clashes between candidates’ supporters in some areas because of violations.
“The only positive thing that happened here on Monday is the tight security measures; for the first time there are traffic barriers and cars cannot come close to the polling station,” she added.
In the Upper Egypt governorate of Assiut, voters witnessed a delay in several polling stations. One judge, who supposed to reach one village in Assiut died in a car accident, reports said. Other judges did not reach the city on time. They were replaced by alternative judges and 51 polling stations were merged.
Regarding the turnout, Mahmoud El-Agamy, a journalist based in Assiut, thinks the turnout in villages is much better that the capital city. “Any village which has a local candidate in the elections, the villagers tend to support him,” he said. “But in the capital city the turnout cannot be compared to the presidential elections”.
The same happened in Esna, the biggest city in Luxor. “People here only support candidates from their families,” said Ahmed Alawi a media researcher living in Luxor.
The villagers always vote for villager candidates in the second stage regardless. Alawi also thinks that For the love of Egypt electoral list will take the lead in the governorate because they have chosen well-known candidates from well-known families.
One of the quietest governorates in Upper Egypt was Qena. Its governor announced there were no complains on the first day, according to the Egyptian official news agency. This was confirmed by Waleed Alqenawy, a correspondent based in the city. “There were no serious problems here, only minor clashes that happen as usual between the voters,” he said.
Amal Abd El-Rasol, one candidate in Qena, was going to sue the officials because the voters could not identify her electoral symbol – the helicopter – from another candidate’s symbol – the plane – but she changed her mind in the last minute.