CAIRO: Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies Executive Director Dalia Ziada said the turnout for the presidential election ranged between 48 and 53 percent, and appeared low because of an increase in polling stations, during a press conference on Thursday.
Disputing media and observer reports of a low turnout over three days of voting, Ziada said, “We must keep in mind that we did not see crowded lines in polling stations because the High Presidential Elections Committee (HPEC) increased the number of voting stations.”
Ibn Khaldoun, one of Egypt’s most prominent research centers, concluded at the press conference that the election was generally successful and did have a significant turnout, according to its observations.
The first day of election saw a relatively low turnout, as reported by observers and by the media, which pushed the government to extend voting hours and give citizens a day off to encourage them to vote.
The total number of registered voters was 53,909,306.
During the constitutional referendum held last January, there were 52,742,139 registered voters, distributed over 30,317 sub-polling stations, in comparison to the 14,000 sub-polling stations in this year’s presidential election.
The HPEC, in coordination with security forces, had announced the merging of every three polling stations into one ballot box, to avoid their wide distribution for security reasons.
Another reason for the merging was to facilitate the count and supervision for the judges. HPEC’s Secretary-General Abdul Aziz Salman had explained that the decision would not result in more crowding at polling stations, in statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm on May 21.
Journalist Tamer Abu Arab, who writes for several publications such as Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Shorouk News, considered the argument to be untrue.
“During the elections of 2012, there were 13,000 sub-polling stations, while in the elections of 2014 they were increased to 14,000 because the number of registered voters increased by three million,” Arab posted on his Facebook page.