Amid low turnout, Egypt extends voting for one more day

BY newsdesk  May 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM EST
An Egyptian girls casts her mother's vote at a polling station in the Ain Shams neighborhood of Cairo on Monday. Photo by Virginie Nguyen Hoang/AFP/Getty Images

An Egyptian girls casts her mother’s vote at a polling station in the Ain Shams neighborhood of Cairo on Monday. Photo by Virginie Nguyen Hoang/AFP/Getty Images

Egypt’s election commission on Tuesday extended voting for the next president by a third day amid evidence of low voter turnout during the initial two days. Former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is expected to win easily, but those loyal to him are hoping a large voter turnout will demonstrate countrywide support.

Earlier, authorities declared Tuesday a national holiday to encourage people to vote, and polls closed an hour later, at 10 p.m. local time.

El-Sissi, 59, who led the military removal of former President Mohammed Morsi following large protests in July 2013, was appointed first deputy prime minister during the transition. His supporters say he will bring order to the country, but his critics decry his crackdown on political dissenters.

“We need a bit of dictatorship,” Rasha Hazem, a 43-year-old pharmacist, told New York Times. “Too much spoiling created a little bit of wildness in the people and it isn’t good.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a member, and its Islamist allies are boycotting the election. And several potential candidates said they decided not to run because the election appeared skewed in el-Sissi’s favor.