Egyptian newspapers yesterday focused on the unprecedented number of voters during the first day of parliamentary elections after the January 25 Revolution.
Also the media covered irregularities, including the alleged electioneering at polling stations and the extended voting periods due to delays in the early morning.
On the first day of parliamentary elections after the popular uprising that ousted former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt witnessed huge turnout at the polls. The polls extended their voting periods to 9:00 p.m. to accommodate voters after the Supreme Electoral Committee received more than 70 complaints about delays at the stations.
Chief of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi visited the polling station in El Wayly where he ordered the military transport ballot boxes and judges via military flights to remote Egyptian regions.
Some conflicts erupted between liberal and Islamic forces after the Administrative Judiciary Court in Asyut halted elections after it was discovered that a short description of a candidate appeared on voting cards.
Alexandria saw a large influx of voters, many of whom arrived at the polling station as much as two hours early.
U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Ann Patterson commended the Egyptian parliamentary elections and congratulated Egyptians for succeeding in the process. “Egypt will catch up with the international democratic community,” she added.
Patterson also visited the headquarters of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) where she listened to the Council head and NCHR journalist Hazim Mounir deliver a talk regarding complaint-reporting.
“The U.S. is prepared to engage with any government democratically elected by Egyptians,” Patterson added.
Newly appointed Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri yesterday announced that all ministerial positions had been filled in the new Egyptian Cabinet, all of whom will be announced officially later this week.
El-Ganzouri earlier had met with SCAF Chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to discuss the formation of the Chancellor’s Council. El-Ganzouri also praised Egyptians for elections, saying they should be “proud of themselves.”
“Ninety-five percent of the sub-polling stations opened on time,” said Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of the Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC).
“Bad weather and misinformation regarding voting station locations caused some delays in the voting process,” Ibrahim claimed.
The Supreme Electoral Committee received more than 70 complaints regarding delays at polling stations and unstamped voting cards.
“The flow of voters was unexpected this morning,” said Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the SEC chief. “There was also a noticeable number of old men and women at the stations.”
“The winners of the individual seats will be announced on Thursday,” Ibrahim said.
Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb yesterday voted in the parliamentary elections after standing in a long line.
He called on all Egyptians to head to the polling stations and help construct a new civil country.
“Elections procedures must be implemented on time because Egypt is committed to a roadmap to democracy, constructed by Egyptians,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.
Amr tried to vote early in the morning, but decided to come back later when crowds had thinned.
“The flow of Copts to the polling stations was unexpected,” said Nageeb Gebraeel, the head of the Organization of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights. “There were some irregularities including attempts at coercion by Salafists.”
Pope Shenouda III was unable to vote as he continues to receive medical treatment in the United States.
Some supervising judges admitted that irregularities could occur because the two-day process allows for ballot boxes to remain unsupervised all night.
A huge flow of voters turned out yesterday at polling stations Egypt-wide despite poor weather conditions. A number of demonstrators decided to boycott the elections in Tahrir Square, calling for an immediate transfer to civil authority.
Meanwhile other demonstrators, including Gama’a Islamiyya and Salafis, decided to participate in the elections