2018 Egypt presidential elections: The voting process

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Source: Africa News / The Dawn News / March 23, 2018 (updated for March 26)

Today, Egyptians started heading to the polls to vote for president in a race pitting the incumbent Abdel Fattah el Sisi against El Ghad party chairperson, Moussa Mostafa Moussa.

The official electoral campaigns of the candidates ended on Saturday 24 March in accordance to the timelines shared by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

The NEA which is organising the presidential elections for the first time in Egypt, having taken over from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) in 2017, will supervising the voting, tallying and results announcement processes.

The voting process in Egypt is not very different from that in many African countries and indeed in democracies across the world.

It can be summarised as follows:

  • Voting shall be conducted for three days from March 26 to March 28 between 9 am and 9pm (local time).
  • Egyptians who are outside the country have the right to cast their vote and already did so between March 16 and March 18.
  • All things being equal, on arrival at a polling station a person is expected to present their National ID card to an official.
  • Egyptians in the diaspora were also able to use their National Passports to vote.
  • If details of the ID card correspond to what is in the register, a voter is handed a presidential ballot paper.
  • The voter goes into a booth to secretly cast their ballots and put in the ballot box.
  • The voter shall then sign or stamp her/his thump against her/his name on the voters’ list, and shall immerse her/his finger into the indelible ink that is not removable before no less than 48 hours.
  • Polls will be opened over an twelve-hour period, from 9am till 9pm. Counting and declaration of results at polling stations will be done immediately after.

Other facts about the process

  • The voter eligibility age is 18 years and above.
  • A presidential aspirant need 51% of votes cast to win a first round vote. If no candidate makes the mark, a runoff vote is scheduled.
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