CAIRO: The High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) will put into force the articles of presidential electoral law which stipulate a 500 EGP ($71) fine on those who abstain from voting, Tariq Shebl, a commission official, said Tuesday on CBC TV channel.
Shebl added that abstainers who have an excuse for not voting would be exempt from the fine. He said the money collected would be given to the Ministry of Finance.
Twitter users criticized the statements claiming that the government feared low voter turnout and were trying to “force” citizens to participate.
Users launched hashtag #presidential_play, saying that the presidential election this year was a play and that everyone knows who will win.
The hashtag is top trending on twitter, below are a few of the tweets:
@menOFrevolution: “In a while they will tell you, the one who will participate will take 500 #will_not_go #presidential_play it is not #Hamdeen’s_Tuesday.”
Social media users launched the hashtag which translates to #Hamdeen’s_Tuesday calling on people to go and vote for presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi on Tuesday after the low turnout of Sabbahi supporters Monday.
@ahmedtalaat722: “Forcing people to go to elections by imposing fine, shows political bankruptcy #presidential_play”
@OlaAbssia: “I feel like that they will take the voting ballots and go from door to door #presidential_play.”
In 2012, the secretary general of the High Presidential Election Commission Hatem Begatu had said that those who do not vote would be fined according to the law, according to al-Watan news website.
Despite Begatu’s statements, those who hadn’t participated in the presidential elections were not fined.