Egyptians abroad ended their last day to vote in the presidential election on Sunday. Sunday’s local newspapers widely celebrated what they described as a “high voter turnout” and “queues of voters” as a source of pride for the nation.
In state-run Akhbar Al-Youm, most writers focused on Egyptians voting abroad in the presidential election. Its chairperson Yasser Rizk wrote a full-page article where he compared turnout in the election to the response of “30 million” Egyptians who heeded a call by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to “delegate him to eradicate terrorism” on 26 July 2013.
“When I asked the president if he had expected such numbers of people to go on the streets, he answered that he expected much more,” Rizk wrote, adding, “after two revolutions, we cannot be passive. Boycotting is not politics because politics is the positive expression of one’s stance, but boycotting is a violation of politics and an assault on democracy.”
In the same state-owned daily, another op-ed titled “Your vote is a bullet in the heart of traitors” by Waleed Abdulaziz made the same comparison, saying “30 million Egyptians should cast their votes,” like they made their voices heard in the 30 June protests.
“It doesn’t matter who will win the election, what’s more important is to prove to the world that the people are able to participate. Even if you feel like Al-Sisi will win in any case, let’s turn it into a big celebration to express gratitude to the man who saved us from the Muslim Brotherhood occupation,” he wrote.
In state-owned daily Al-Ahram, Abdel Mohsen Salama, chairperson of the newspaper and head of the Press Syndicate, also called on people to vote in a piece titled “Seven years into refugee camps”, in which he pointed to the downfall of other Arab nations and stressed that voting will prevent the Egyptian state from being destroyed.
For his part, Emad El-Din Hussein, editor-in-chief of the privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, began by stating that official numbers should reveal the turnout rate for Egyptians abroad. Yet, he maintained that some images from abroad were positive indicators on how much people were keen on making the effort to cast their vote.
To Hussein, Egyptians living abroad are motivated by true concern for the stability of the country they wish to return to one day and where their families remain, in addition to having the right to have an opinion in the election of their country’s president. “We shall wait and see if these queues will also take place during the election inside Egypt, but until then, I must salute any Egyptian who decided to vote, regardless of whom they voted for,” Hussein concluded.
For Al-Masry Al-Youm’s Selima Gouda, Egyptians abroad are first and foremost moved by nostalgia for their country.
Meanwhile, a rare mention of Al-Sisi’s rival candidate Moussa Mostafa Moussa featured in the column of Mohamed Amin, chairman of the privately-owned newspapers. “I keep looking for Moussa’s supporters,” wrote Amin.
According to him, Moussa said he had support among Arab tribes but it is unclear if this is going to reflect in significant numbers of votes in his favour. Amin hoped for 30 million Egyptian voters calling on people to participate.