“Egypt’s election commission on Tuesday extended voting in the presidential election for a third day amid reported low turnout. Meanwhile government officials, media and the military — worried that turnout was weaker than expected — harangued voters to go to the polls. The front-runner, former army chief Abdel Fattah El Sisi, is trying to garner an overwhelming show of support. Monitoring groups and Sisi’s rival candidate reported low turnout by early Tuesday. Closer to sunset, numbers appeared to be increasing. The election commission said it was extending the vote through Wednesday, citing complaints that migrant workers have been unable to vote where they reside because of laws making it difficult to do so. Election commission officials warned that they would implement a rarely applied rule imposing fines on all able-bodied voters who do not cast ballots. The fine, $72, is a hefty sum for most Egyptians…………..”
If this Aljazeera report is true about the fine, it is a first in the Arab world. Normally Arab rulers go to gruesome lengths to keep people from voting freely: just look at the ‘secret’ numbers of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Syria, etc, etc. Punishing people for not voting in Field Marshal Sisi’s republic (not voting for Sisi of course: they cretainly would not want Morsi voters to vote). Imagine, some day it is possible that we may see Arab citizens get punished for not engaging in politics. That would be quite a switch.
In any case, whatever official figures claim, turnout has been dismal for these controlled sham elections. It looks like mostly Egypt’s middle-aged and elderly have gone out and voted. Especially elderly women many of whom reportedly see Al Sisi as some kind of a sex symbol. Others are still basking in the glow of his great medical achievements, like recent cures for Hepatitis and HIV. The young Egyptians, who staged one uprising in 2011 for freedom then supported a military coup in 2013, have largely stayed home.