The polling stations in Egypt opened today at 9:00 a.m. local time (07:00 GMT) for the presidential elections. The elections will last three days and President Abdel Fattah al Sisi is the clear favorite against three little-known rivals. More than 67 million Egyptians, out of the more than 105 million inhabitants of the country, are expected to vote in this election. The voting will close at 9:00 p.m. local time (7:00 p.m. GMT) each day, and the results will be announced on December 18.
At the Ahmed Orabi primary school in Cairo’s Imbaba neighborhood, around a hundred people waited for the polling station to open. Voters will be able to cast their vote at more than 9,000 electoral centers throughout the country. Many voters waved Egyptian flags to the rhythm of popular music played through the large loudspeakers of the voting center, while the Police and the organizers of the polling station organized the lines for access to the voting stations.
According to the National Electoral Authority (ANE), some 15,000 judges have been assigned to supervise the work of the tables and carry out the recount of votes. The process will also be monitored by 22,540 local observers, 14 international organizations, and 67 diplomatic representatives of 24 embassies accredited in Egypt.
The candidates participating in the elections are the current president and great favorite, Abdel Fattah al Sisi, Farid Zahran, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (PES), Abdel Sanad Yamama, head of the Wafd Party, and Hazem Omar, of the Republican People’s Party (RPP). These are the first elections since Al Sisi came to power in a coup d’état in 2013 in which more than two candidates participate, in a moment of relative political openness in the face of the authorities’ commitment to the “democratic transformation” of the North African country.
In the last elections, in 2014 and 2018, Al Sisi defeated a single rival with 97% of the votes on both occasions, in elections considered a farce by the opposition. The main unknown will be turnout, since these elections take place in the midst of a severe economic crisis marked by rampant official inflation of 38%, the loss of more than half of the value of the Egyptian pound in one year, and an external debt of more than 160 billion dollars.
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