It’s the third and final day of Egypt’s presidential election and the last opportunity for the government to mobilise voters.
The outcome looks to be a forgone conclusion with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expected to sweep to victory, but there is concern that a low turnout could weaken his authority.
In an effort to dispel voter apathy, the state news agency reminded Egyptians that voting is mandatory by law and those who do not, face a fine of 500 pounds ($28) or less – a sanction that in previous elections has not been enforced rigorously.
Voting is a national duty and the state will enforce the election law and confront those eligible to vote in elections but unjustifiably failed to cast their ballots.
Salah Hasaballah, spokesperson for the House of Representatives, said that the state has mechanisms to implement Article 43 of Egypt’s election law that stipulates that “those who abstain from casting their votes in the presidential election shall be fined up to LE 500 ($28).”
‘‘Voting is a national duty and the state will enforce the election law and confront those eligible to vote in elections but unjustifiably failed to cast their ballots,’‘ he added.
The National Elections Authority (NEA) spokesperson Mahmoud El-Sherif told journalists that they have not taken any decision to extend voting to Thursday.
Sisi is seeking a second term with the aim of repairing the economic damage of years of political turmoil and of defeating Islamist insurgents.
Sisi’s only opponent is an obscure politician loyal to Sisi. More serious challengers were forced to step down and several opposition politicians called for a boycott of the vote, saying repression had removed credible challengers.
But authorities hope that over three days it can mobilise a strong turnout. The president still has many admirers, although austerity measures in recent years and a fierce crackdown on Islamists, secularists and liberals have reduced that support.