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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Elections, elections, and more elections

The presidential election again dominated the airwaves last night as talk show hosts remained fixated on turnout on the second day of voting.

Unofficial indicators seem to suggest that yesterday more voters at the polls than on Monday. Initial figures show that around 910k Alexandrians out of a total 3.8 mn eligible voters voted over the past two days, Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi said (watch, runtime: 1:01), encouraging her to describe yesterday’s turnout as “good” — a cautious upgrade from the previous day’s “reasonable” (watch, runtime: 1:27:13).

Lamees took note that former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik was seen voting yesterday. Al Wafd Party President Al Sayed Al Badawi also noted an improvement in yesterday’s turnout (watch, runtime: 2:54), while Kol Youm’s Amr Adib threw caution to the wind in claiming day two was significantly better (watch, runtime: 2:28). Adib also took the opportunity to lambast the foreign press for “jumping the gun” in claiming voter turnout would be low after just one day of the elections (watch, runtime: 25:17).

Some talking heads also obsessed over the Islamist Al Nour Party’s participation in the vote as examples of reformed reformed Islamists (watch, runtime: 1:04) and (watch, runtime: 1:29).

Observers say it’s been smooth sailing so far: Paul Okumu, head of the business and development group Africa Platform, and National Council of Human Rights Yasser Abdelaziz also sat down with Kol Youm’s Amr Adib to discuss the electoral process, which Abdelaziz said has thus far not drawn any complaints from international observers. Okumu noted that Africa Platform will issue a complete report on its observations later (watch, runtime: 2:03). Abdelaziz also reminded Adib that a total of 62 observers, including nine international organizations, are overseeing the elections (watch, runtime: 00:43).

Turnout to continue on an upwards trajectory? Council of State Club head Samir Al Bahy told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal that he expects today to see the highest voter turnout, adding that rural areas boasted higher participation numbers than cities (watch, runtime: 4:58). Daqahliya governor Ahmed Shaarawy voiced the same opinion on Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 3:43).

People are already stressing about 2022. Al Wafd’s Badawi said that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s main political challenge during his (expected) second term would be to create an environment conducive to establishing of a multi-party system (watch, runtime: 4:44). Egyptian actor Mohamed Sobhi (who has, for reasons unbeknownst to us, become a regular political commentator) also said that it is El Sisi’s responsibility to make it possible—starting from now—for candidates to toss their hats into the ring for the 2022 election (watch, runtime: 5:12).

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