Sham el-Nessim celebrations used to promote presidential campaigns
Sham el-Nessim celebrations in the Nile river - YOUM7/Ahmed Ramadan

CAIRO: This year, Sham el-Nessim celebrations took a political turn as presidential campaigns saw an opportunity to promote their candidates during the traditional spring festival among people gathering in the streets and public parks.

On Monday, supporters of presidential candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi campaigned with small boats in the Nile, holding and distributing posters in an effort to gather supporters in downtown Cairo, Youm7 reported.

“Sisi specifically instructed us not to get frustrated and to maintain a respectful attitude towards people and towards his rival, Hamdeen Sabbahi,” campaign spokesperson Abdullah Moghazy told Youm7.

Nile boats rented by campaign members were available to the crowds for free, Veto Gate news website reported, quoting a citizen as saying, “We don’t need boats to vote for Sisi, we will vote for him anyway.” Another person reportedly said, “I hope he will make everything for free not just the boats.”

Meanwhile, Sabbahi’s campaign targeted small cities and villages such as Kafr al-Sheikh and its coastal town Baltim. A Monday post on his campaign’s Facebook page called the event “an awareness campaign for Sabbahi” and showed his supporters forming a cordon and holding posters.

Egypt’s second presidential election since the 2011 fall of Hosni Mubarak is slated for May 26 and 27. Only two candidates, Sisi and Sabbahi, are registered for the race. The nomination period ended Sunday.

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