The sham election saga continues.. [this post will has been updated throughout March. You may read February sham election watch here].
March 30: The Day After:
- Pope Tawadros says the Church believes the president of Egypt is a divine choice and that he wishes military discipline spreads to all institutions. This Pope is a disaster!
- Pope Tawadros stated that ‘It seems there is one candidate who will overtake the elections.’ Duh!!
- Parliamentarian said all those who did not participate in the elections should be deported. Where and how and by which law? he didn’t say.
- Update: Sisi won a landslide victory with 92% of the vote, and a 40% turnout according to preliminary results quoted in state-run Al-Ahram newspaper but also private daily Masry Al-Youm.
The sham elections continue..but this time it has turned into a very dark comedy. The sick and the elderly were carried to the polls and filmed and photographed. Women and men danced in front of the polling stations, some in hysterics.
Bribes and pressure:
The other side of the story was different: people reported being forcibly bussed to the polling stations, and being given food and other goods if they voted.
- The government threatened people who boycotted the vote, some with LE500 fines, and in many cases threatened government civil servants and coerced them into voting and bringing back copies of papers that prove they voted in addition to the red-inked finger.
- Governor of Kafr El Sheikh insulted people who boycotted and threatened them on public television. Videos of bribes to voters surfaced all over the social media and the internet.
- The governor of Qaliyobiya stated that he would give every Bishophric in his province LE100k each if voter turnout was 40% or more. The day following the elections he withdrew the offer and said he only meant to mobilize people!
- Sonesta Hotel urged its employees to go vote in a letter and promising them they would receive LE150 per voting person if they show HR their finger with the red ink.
- Qena education branch bussed its employees to polling stations.
- Beheira governor said that the village with the most voters will have its problems re water and sewage systems resolved.
- Abdel Abdel Moneim, deputy of the ministry of education in Fayoum said that he will grant every student who votes 10 extra points to his/her grades, and will have priority in entering military schools.
- Aswan governor says he will be giving an award to the village that has the most voters.
Sasha Toperich – fake monitors?
A monitoring that isn’t:
Meanwhile, Egyptian media claimed an American man was a representative from the US Congress – which turned out to be untrue – and quoted him as saying that elections were fair and square. He was filmed dancing with people at the polls and given food and shisha with his partners one male and one female. The man’s name is Sasha Toperich and he had been used as an ‘expert’ on Egyptian affairs and has expressed strong support of Sisi in the past. He is a virtually unknown person. He is suddenly shown as an election ‘observer’ even though Egypt denied everyone who applied for election monitoring with very few exceptions who are pro-regime. Even the Swiss organization they claimed was monitoring elections was founded by an Egyptian who supports Sisi. As political analyst Evan Hill stated on Twitter “With major election observation missions staying far away from Sisi’s plebiscite, Egypt appears to have recruited a random band of clueless foreigners.”
The evil ‘other’:
And then of course Egyptian media began calling foreign media conspirators telling lies. Egypt’s state owned Al Ahram said that foreign media coverage of election is “full of lies” and claimed that Reuters deliberately “hid” pictures of long queues of voters, publishing ones of half empty polling stations instead.
It should be noted that the Egyptian regime deported journalist Bel Trew one week ago claiming it was because she did not renew her permit. Bel Trew was taken directly from Shubra, where she was interviewing some people on the street about the elections, and made to ‘choose’ between a military trial or being escorted directly to the airport. Naturally she chose the latter.
Local Media and Press:
Picture of before and after the complaint against Al Masri Al Youm
To conclude the day, Al Masri Al Youm published a surprisingly uncharacteristic headline stating that the state amassed/mobilized people for the last day of elections and that officials made promises of donating food and money if people voted and giving gifts in front of polling stations. Lawyer Samir Sabri immediately filed a lawsuit against the newspaper claiming that it was threatening peace and stability and national security. Later in the day the newspaper issued an ‘explanation’ for using the term ‘mobilized’ and said that it did not mean any harm by it.
At the end of the day, El Menassa magazine was blocked in Egypt for its coverage of the elections.
Egypt also set up a hotline for ‘reporting fake news’.