Party atmosphere as thousands flock to voting centres ahead of election day in Egypt
Egyptian expats cast their ballots in UAE for country's presidential election
Thousands of Egyptians living in the UAE flocked to vote in their country’s presidential election.
The Egyptian embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate in Dubai received long queues of visitors after opening their doors at 9am on Friday.
Egyptian diplomatic missions around the world allocated March 16 to 18 for their nationals living abroad to participate in the presidential elections, which conclude with voting in Egypt on March 26. The two nominees for the ballot are the current Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Moussa Mostafa Moussa.
Egypt’s ambassador to the UAE, Wael Gad, was the first to cast his ballot in Abu Dhabi, where the crowd danced and sang popular songs, the Emirati artist Hussein Al Jasmi’s song Bushret Khair. Voters came from all across Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra and Al Ain. There were special buses allocated to transfer those who do not live in the city.
Ahmad Saeed, a 33-year-old voter, said that by noon the number of prospective voters queuing at the embassy had already reached more than 1,000.
“I wasn’t planning on going, but my friends called me in the morning and encouraged me to go. I am glad I participated the atmosphere is quite patriotic,” he said.
Khaled Abdulazeez, a 32-year-old Egyptian media advisor, said he will be voting for Mr Sisi because he has made Egypt more stable and secure in the past four years. “The country needs such leadership that will maintain its security, and in the past four years things have calmed down a lot in Egypt.”
“A number of projects have also taken place and new investment laws,” he added.
His wife Rasha Mohammed, 25, said she was not planning to vote at first because she was confident Mr Sisi will win.
“Today I changed my mind, after I saw everybody participating and celebrating I got encouraged and a patriotic feeling came out, and I felt that I also have a say and I should go and vote. I also voted for Sisi during the first elections.”
“This huge turnout was unexpected,” she added.
Sally Kotb, a 30-year-old legal advisor, went with her parents and brother to vote for Sisi at the consulate in Dubai at around 9:30.
“There were already a lot of people and everybody was happy and they were singing and chanting patriotic statements, it was a beautiful spirit.
“It was a great experience, and the whole process was properly organised, and it was so smooth it did not take time at all, maybe ten minutes max.”
“There were thousands of people even though we went quite early, and as we were leaving more people started to flock,” she added.
Her mother Salwa Abu Taleb, said it was important for her family to take part in order to show gratitude to Mr Sisi for his accomplishments over the past four years, city housing projects, improvements to health care and security.