CAIRO, May 26, 2012 - On May 23rd, Egyptians went to the polls to vote for a president for the first time in 60 years. Official results are due next week. If no single candidate wins a 50% majority, a run off between a two top vote getters will take place on June 16th and17th.
A great majority of Egyptians believe that none of the 13 candidates fulfil the people’s aspirations, despite a revolution that removed long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak and in which hundreds of people died. Egyptians feel exhausted from waiting for the politically adolescent time frame to move toward mature democracy .Some Egyptians are boycotting the elections stating that they are concerned about the integrity of the vote.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) approved 53 licenses for Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) to observe the elections. International Observers include monitors from the Carter Center, a US based NGO headed by former President Jimmy Carter, and observers from the African Union. Egyptian NGO’s will also monitor the voting process in all 26 governorates.
Eye witnesses said that the Muslim Brotherhood, which is supporting the candidacy of Dr. Mohamed Mursi’s, was distributing bags of food to poor people in return for electoral support.
Early polls show that the topMany political analysts doubt the accuracy of polls which placed Mursi on top two vote getters are Mursi and Ahmed Shafik, former Prime Minister under Mubarak. Opinion polls show around 30% of the electorate remains undecided.
Optimistic Egyptians say they are experiencing a new phase in their history and believe that diversity in opinion is a step towards democracy. Other Egyptians whose dreams boiled down to simply securing their economic and political lives stated that their choice is limited, so they will vote for the best of the worst.
Although the total number of eligible voters is 50 million, only 35% of the voters participated in the first day of polling, and more than 40% of the voters participated in the second day.
Whoever wins the presidential race in Egypt will definitely need, ”a miracle to be able to deal with the multiple challenges facing the country” said Mohamed H. Heikel a leading political analyst.
The first elected president in the history of Egypt will determine the future of a country suffering from many problems waiting for urgent solutions.
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