In parliamentary elections, candidates must follow up the process and are allowed by law to have representatives inside polling stations to observe and assess the voters’ difficulties, the performance of judges and official employees, and most importantly the activities of rival candidates.
In Al-Shaheed Ahmed school in Dokki, Daily News Egypt spoke to Amr Hossam, a 26-year-old man who was seen casting his vote, out of interest in his young age in comparison to the majority of voters on Sunday morning until noon.
“Youth are the ones who should be selecting their parliamentary representatives because they were the ones who demanded and participated in a revolution,” Hossam said. He was working with candidate journalist Abdel Reheem Ali’s campaign and his presence in the polling station had double purposes.
Several local media reports said Ali’s campaign violated the electoral silence and laws of banning campaigning near polling stations. His campaigning team was able to handout some printed advertisements to voters.
Outside many schools, posters of candidates are spread over all walls. Daily News Egypt met owners of a microbus and its riders, who claimed to have worked for Ali. An elderly man carrying a card with Ali’s picture was asking for directions to a certain polling station, where he is registered.
Similarly, in Al-Shaheed Amer Abdel Maqsoud school, the electoral campaign team of the Free Egyptians Party (FEP) and son of Zamalek Football Club President Ahmed Mortada Mansour wore badges that had the latter’s picture on it.
The team did not deny promoting their candidate and said they were mostly attentive to the supporters of other candidates. “If they commit violations, we notice them and must report it officially to the administration in the polling station. It happened this morning with a rival candidate but we solved it verbally,” one of the members said.
Tarek Sayed, also from Ali’s campaign, was following up on the situation in the polling station of Riyad Faculty in Dokki. He told Daily News Egypt that during his tour in several places, he noticed that some judges came in late, which caused voters to leave and choose to come back at a later time of the day according to their schedules.
Badr Ashraf, a coordinator in the Abdel Raheem Ali campaign, was waiting outside the polling stations of the National Research Center. He said even though the day was just starting, it was still early to predict the turnout of the voters.
“The elections are taking place on a Sunday, a working day, so it is expected that the flow will increase when the work day is over and employees leave their offices,” Badr told Daily News Egypt.
Ali owns Al-Bawaba News website and works for Al-Assima channel. Journalists from both outlets had a strong presence in the constituency Ali is running in and on one occasion, Ali was also among the electoral campaign.
Saeed Al-Daer, former teacher at the Ministry of Education, was at the same polling station. He said he only knew the candidates he will vote for a day before the elections began. “There is no way candidates can reach the average citizen and expect the normal street banners to be enough. People are beginning to doubt their credibility.”