The National Electoral Commission (NEC) will hold any media outlet accountabile for publishing any false information about the 2018 presidential election, said the commission’s head, Lasheen Ibrahim, during a press conference on Wednesday, the third day of the election.
He also said that citizens’ participation in the presidential election is the most successful and effective method to confirm Egyptians’ choice of democracy as the basis of their system of governance.
“[Neither] the homeland nor candidates are the biggest loser of not voting in the electoral process,” he said, stressing, “voting is one of the most important political rights of citizens.”
Moderate turnout continued on the third and last day of the election that will determine Egypt’s leader for the next four years. Despite the Egyptian Meteorology Authority having warned of bad weather on Wednesday, the majority of polling stations across the country were not impacted, and continued receiving voters.
Two candidates are vying for the presidency, incumbent President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and El-Ghad Party leader Moussa Mostafa Moussa. Voting took place at 13,706 polling stations in all 26 governorates.
Moreover, during the conference, NEC spokesperson Mahmoud El-Sherif responded that the commission is the only entity authorise to issue any statement about the election or the imposing of fines on anyone who did not vote in the election.
This came in response to different media outlets reporting that citizens who did not vote will have to pay a fine of EGP 500.
Sherif also said, “the imposing of fines is stipulated by the law, with a fine of up to EGP 500 in case of abstaining with no excuse,” adding, “the application of the law and its activation is very important because we are in a state of laws.”
El-Sherif also said, “the massive participation pushed the enemies of the homeland to promote lies and rumours, to drive voters to laziness and not to go out to vote.”
Furthermore, El-Sherif said that presidential candidates have the right to appeal the results within 48 hours of their announcement, and that the process of counting votes will take place over five days.
Regarding media coverage of the election, head of the State Information Service, Diaa Rashwan, said, “the coverage was positive as it presented different media reports to show the ceremonial manifestations of the various constituencies in the majority of Egyptian cities.”
He noted that there was a total of 680 reporters who continued their coverage on the the second day of voting without reporting any problems or difficulties that prevented them from monitoring polling stations or communicating with voters and officials.
State officials’ calls for citizens to vote in the election continued on the third day of voting. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zaid called on citizens to vote in the election, in a statement on Wednesday, saying, “participation is in fact a national duty for every citizen and not just a right. If someone did not participate, they have no right to comment, or express any opinion regarding any policy.”
Abou Zaid also added that there are “desperate attempts to distort the image of the election through many different claims,” referring to some Egyptians’ comments that the results of the election were predetermined.
Throughout the three days of voting, public attention was more concerned with the celebrations on the streets rather than the lines outside polling stations.
On different social media platforms, videos showing women of all ages dancing to nationalist songs in front of polling stations went viral.
Al-Sisi and his wife Entissar cast their ballots during the first day of the election, Monday, while his rival Moussa voted after first heading to his El-Ghad Party headquarters, in the midst of a small number of supporters chanting for him. Also, Prime Minster Sherif Ismail participated in the election, as did other ministers and officials.