Low turnout and apathy among voters in Alexandria
Courtesy: Alexia Underwood

Alexandria witnessed lower-than-expected turnout rates on Monday, the first day of the presidential elections, and an even lower turnout on Tuesday.

In official press statements issued by the Chief of Alexandria’s Presidential Elections Commission, Judge Mosaad Abu Saada claimed that only around 20 percent of voters in the Mediterranean governorate participated in the presidential elections on Monday. Alexandria has just under 3.5 million eligible voters.

The Journalists Syndicate denounced the detention of several of its registered members nationwide on Monday, including Mostafa Fathy from the privately owned Al-Dostour newspaper, who was arrested while attempting to cover polling at the Abbas Helmy School, in the Betash district of Alexandria Governorate.

The state-owned Middle East News Agency confirmed Fathy’s arrest and referral to Dekheila police station. Fathy was reportedly released late Monday night after the syndicate intervened on his behalf.

At least three other journalists were assaulted by security forces in the same district of Agamy/Betash on Monday. They were briefly detained and then released the same evening, according to Alexandrian-based reporter Abdel Rahman Youssef.

Certain popular districts within the city of Alexandria, particularly in the east, reported mediocre to high turnout rates throughout Monday.

Tuesday’s turnout was more worrying to the interim authorities, who had hoped for high participation rates.

According to Youssef, the second day of the elections witnessed an even lower voter turnout. “Almost nobody participated in the second day of voting, and polling stations were deserted for the most part. In numerous stations, there were nearly no voters to be photographed or interviewed.”

Several political parties, particularly the ultra-conservative Salafi Nour Party (former allies of the Muslim Brotherhood), were heavily involved in campaigning efforts to promote Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to encourage voter participation.

Voter apathy in the Alexandrian governorate has been attributed to a heat wave, a pre-determined victor (Sisi), and boycotts by the Muslim Brotherhood, their Islamist allies and other opposition forces, amongst other reasons.


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