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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Preliminary election results seep into the airwaves to feed the turnout frenzy

On the third and final day of the elections, the talking heads resumed their regularly scheduled discussion of voter turnout while keeping a close eye on preliminary results as they seeped into the press. No one appears to have brought up threats by the National Elections Authority to prosecute those who abstained from voting (we did, and you can find it in the Speed Round).

Needless to say, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received the lion’s share of the votes — to the point where the votes in favor of rival candidate Moussa Mostafa Moussa were fewer than the number of invalid ballots (watch, runtime: 1:59). Preliminary estimates indicate that turnout in Luxor, Fayoum, Beni Suef and Minya hovered around 35-55% (watch, runtime: 2:18) and (watch, runtime: 2:12), while turnout in Menoufia exceeded 52%, according to State Information Service head Diaa Rashwan (watch, runtime: 1:58). Whereas Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi had her hands together in prayer for a total turnout of 30-35%, Rashwan nonchalantly said 40-45% would be passable.

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib refused to acknowledge that some chose to boycott the elections, and continued to maintain that voters showed up at polling stations en masse yesterday despite the bad weather conditions (watch, runtime: 3:41). Field reporters from Kol Youm, Hona Al Asema, Al Hayah Al Youm, and DMC also claimed the third day of voting saw a higher influx of voters than the previous two days, partially thanks to Mahalla workers (watch, runtime: 3:54). The workers went out to vote without any pressure from the textile company’s administration, according to company head Ahmed Moustafa (watch, runtime: 1:46).

Someone finally said it: Lamees Al Hadidi slammed some governors for offering financial rewards and promising services such as new sewage systems as voting incentives, pointing out that these are bribes and that having access to these services is a basic right and not a gift from the government for good behavior. She also stressed that people are heading to the polls because they want to and not because their votes are being bought (watch, runtime: 2:56).

Foreign journalists have not reported any violations, save for a few unconfirmed reports on vote buying, according to the SIS’ Rashwan, who dismissed the notion that the elections were rigged in any way. Director of the Mediterranean Basin Initiative at the Center for Transatlantic Relations Sasha Toperich — who acted as an observer throughout the elections — also had no complaints or violations to report (watch, runtime: 3:52). Meanwhile on DMC, National Press Authority head Karam Gabr railed against the Ikhwan for being disappointed that the elections went off without a hitch (watch, runtime: 6:46).

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