More than 53 million voters are eligible to take part in the poll. Several political groups have staged a boycott, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the April 6 movement and the Strong Egypt party. The Presidential Election Commission , a panel, has set up more than 25,000 voting stations across the country, monitored by about 16,000 judges. The results of the election are immune to appeals.
In a statement issued by the army, about 182,000 military personnel will be deployed alongside police.
Election results to be published on June 5, nearly one year after Morsi was unseated in a coup led by Sisi. Millions of people had rallied to cut short Morsi’s four-year tenure, as his first year in office was marred by deep polarisation and sporadic violence.
Since then, Sisi, who was chosen by Morsi at the end of 2012 to be his defence minister, has been deemed by supporters as the country’s saviour from political Islam. Grassroots campaigns urged Sisi to present his candidacy for president, and his posters have draped buildings and lined roads in the capital and around the country.
“It’s like a Mercedes racing a bike,” Emad Shahin, a visiting political science professor at Columbia University, told Al Jazeera. “Sisi’s campaign has been under way for over 10 months.”
An electoral silence started on Saturday at midnight, only days after Sisi’s campaign disclosed its electoral programme. The front-runner’s primary mission, according to his platform, would be to restore security and stability, and heal the country’s debt-laden economy.
According to a tally issued on May 25 by the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights , more than 41,000 people have either been charged or detained since the July coup, the majority of whom are Morsi supporters, but also liberals who grew critical of the new regime.
Hundreds of protesters have been killed in that same period at the hands of security forces.
Sisi’s opponents have criticised the candidate’s repeated refusal to present a detailed plan, his use of televised, pre-recorded interviews instead of direct meetings, and his refusal to have a live debate with Sabahi.
“He is promoting an individualistic programme, based on him, his brand. He is feeding on people’s fears, and intellectuals surrounding him have been playing the security card and how his military background makes him fit for the task,” Shahin said.
The military-backed post-coup government passed a law restricting public protests , which it claims is essential to restore a sense of normalcy to the country and revive an economy battered by the three-year unrest.
The Egyptian diaspora voted earlier this month. More than 300,000 voters cast their ballot in about 140 countries, and 94 percent endorsed Sisi’s candidacy.
To all honorable patriotic Egyptians living outside the homeland…
You honored your promise and answered the call of the martyrs, teaching coup commanders and collaborators a hard lesson they will never forget, as you took positive action to boycott the fraudulent presidential poll overseas. You told the whole world that Egypt fully boycotts the illegitimate vote, rejects the military coup, and supports democratic legitimacy and the restoration of the democratic path.
Revolutionary Egypt appreciates and praises your first strike against the treasonous putschists. Egyptian revolutionaries everywhere in Egypt rejoice as they witness the first signs of victory on the road to total triumph and the complete defeat of the coup.
The Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance followed the farce of the illegitimate election abroad, in which coup authorities opened the door wide for all voting irregularities: no proper procedures or even essential pre-registration, allowing eight million Egyptians – residents, visitors and even transit passengers – to cast “null and void” ballots.
This farce amounted to broad daylight fraud, with no database or list of eligible voters. Nevertheless, patriotic Egyptians taught the putschists and their collaborators a hard lesson. Less than three hundred thousand voters cast ballots – according to the putschists’ own figures. But even this exaggerated official figure is less than the number of votes in the 2012 real presidential election. Only 4% voted in this illegitimate poll, while 44% voted in the 2012 presidential election, in the first round.
This 4% vs 44% turnout is a clear sign that you stand firm in defense of the freedom of your homeland, although this illegitimate presidential vote took place over four days compared with only two for the 2012 election that brought in President Morsi. Their total defeat will be further substantiated and the lesson will be completed on the land of Egypt, God willing, with exceptionally low turnout.
In addition to your effective boycott, the farce of the illegitimate poll was marred by the traitorous coup authorities resorting to very old and naive tricks and maneuvers, including repeated voting, collective ballot casting, forcing Egyptian workers in Gulf states to vote under threats and menaces, in addition to playing on allusions of sectarianism, using sectarian fervor to force voters to come out, and allowing voting for residents and travelers on two-day visas. All these extreme tactics and naive maneuvers confirmed to the whole world the invalidity of the poll procedures and all consequent actions and results.
To all free and loyal Egyptians in the beloved homeland…
Take up the banner of the blood ballot boycott within Egypt. Complete the revolutionary march will all strength and selfless devotion. Step up your efforts to win over new sectors of society for the boycott of the sham elections, so we may regain our freedom and restore the January 25 Revolution.
Remember that coup authorities are now begging for votes, only to turn against all voters after legitimizing their putsch through the show election. We call on Egypt’s Christians who are committed to the teachings of Christ, peace be upon him – the descendants of the national leader Makram Obeid, not to be fooled by the putschists’ tricks who can not care less for any factions of the whole people of Egypt. The putschists and their candidates honor no promises or pledges.
To the families of Egyptian heroes: martyrs, detainees and the wounded…
You’re in our hearts and our thoughts. You are the icons of the Revolution. The free revolutionaries will never let you down, and will never stain their hands with blood. The Revolution is going from strength to strength, and will continue until it achieves all the demands. It will certainly hold to task all murderers and oppressors trying to legitimize their power-grab with a sham presidential election to protect themselves from inevitable punishment. However, the end of all falsehood is onto them.
Boycott the blood ballot… Down with the murderer, the ‘extras’ and the entire coup.
The Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance