Islamist stronghold sees medium turnout with elderly dominating scene

Adham Youssef
4 Min Read

On the second day of the presidential election, big families and members of parliament in the district of Kerdasa were moving to mobilise more young men to join the voting, especially after the first day witnessed the participation of mostly older voters.

Samir, a coordinator of the Enzel w Sharek (Go Out and Participate) campaign, told Daily News Egypt that after the first day, several meetings were held in the district to strategise on how to convince youth to participate. The 22-year-old university student who participated in the campaign as a volunteer, said, “we have to participate in order to thank Al-Sisi and the army for cleansing Kerdasa of terrorism.”

Kerdasa has been long known for being a stronghold of Islamists, especially the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Since the 1950s, several clashes have taken place between Islamists and police forces. These clashes, however, escalated following the violent dispersal of Rabaa Square in August 2013, which took place after the ouster of Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi. The clashes were followed by several police and army campaigns that left dozens killed from the ranks of security forces as well as civilians. In addition, dozens of men from the village are on trial in different violence-related criminal cases.

“We don’t know what to do with the young people so that they come out and vote,” Samir said, adding, “older voters only cast their vote and leave due to the heat, but the young people come and take photos. We want people who pass by to see lines outside the polling stations.”

Inside the Fatma Al-Zahraa School polling station, a 55-year-old street vendor told Daily News Egypt that he “went to the polling station to vote for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi because he will restore order.”

“Anyone who will keep things in order, I will vote for him. I voted for Morsi and the Brotherhood because they kept things stable,” the man added, while he was carrying a piece of paper with his name and number on the voting list. The headline of the paper read “Tahya Misr”

A heavy security presence on the outskirts of the village included military special forces and central security forces.

Near one of the polling stations stood Mossad who owns a small kiosk which was closed after the security forces came to secure the area. He was standing next to it so as to prevent anyone from looting the goods inside it. “I was going to vote, but after what happened, I will not. The government has to think of the people and not take decisions that affect them negatively. They ordered me to close. I make a living by the money I earn every single day. Now I will be closed for a whole week.”

At another polling station, microbuses filled with elderly citizens arrived and unloaded the voters, as a disc jockey played nationalist music. Similarly, tuk-tuks played a similar role in transporting voters to and from the polling station.

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