(MENAFN- Daily News Egypt)
Egyptian voters commenced casting their ballots on Sunday for the country's three-day presidential election. Ahmed Bendari, Director of the Executive Office of the National Elections Commission (NEC), reported a high turnout from the onset of voting. Polling stations welcomed voters from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
During a press conference, Bendari revealed that the Central Operations Room conducted a video conference with the heads of general committees across the republic's governorates to ensure the smooth operation of the voting process.
Out of 11,631 polling stations, only 376 experienced delays. The last station to open was in Al-Ayyat, Giza, due to its remote location.
Expatriate committees have seen significant participation since the first ballot, marking the largest turnout among the provinces.
Bendari called on all judges overseeing the elections to collaborate with permit-holding journalists, media professionals, and civil society organization representatives, both local and international, to aid their monitoring efforts.
From the start of voting at 9 a.m., citizens queued at polling stations to partake in the elections, conducted under comprehensive judicial supervision. The process will span three days, with oversight from various civil society groups and media outlets.
Four candidates are vying for the presidency: Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Farid Zahran of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Abdel Sindh Yamama of the Wafd Party, and Hazem Omar of the Republican People's Party.
Police forces are ensuring the security and safety of polling stations, providing a protected environment for voters.
Judges, secretaries, and subcommittee members initiated the electoral process by casting their votes, as indicated in a special announcement, contrasting with the registered voters' announcement.
The voter database lists approximately 67 million eligible participants, with around 15,000 judges from various judicial bodies overseeing the process at 11,631 polling stations within 9,376 centers managed by the NEC.
Election results are set to be announced on December 18 if determined in the first round. Should a second round be necessary, voting for Egyptians abroad will occur on 5-7 January 2024, and within Egypt on 8-10 January, with results announced on 16 January 2024.
Approximately 60,000 employees across sub-committees, general committees, and conservation and follow-up committees are supporting the judges overseeing Egypt's electoral process.
The NEC has ensured that citizens with disabilities can exercise their voting rights by locating sub-committees on the ground floors of polling centers. Additionally, the NEC has provided written instructions for voters with hearing impairments and Braille ballots for blind voters.
Expatriates within the governorates have also been granted voting rights, with committees established in industrial, tourist, and expatriate community areas, allowing those outside their electoral zone to participate.
The presidential elections have garnered significant media attention, with 528 international journalists and media professionals receiving NEC permits to observe the process. Furthermore, 115 Arab, regional, and international news organizations have been accredited for election coverage.
The NEC has issued media monitoring permits to 4,218 journalists from 70 local media entities, and 67 foreign diplomats from 24 diplomatic missions in Cairo have requested Commission approval.
Out of Egypt's 104 million population, 67 million individuals over 18 are eligible to vote, as per NEC records.
Diaa Rashwan, Head of the General Information Services Authority, reported that media monitoring confirmed the orderly conduct of the electoral process across the republic, with notable voter turnout at polling stations from early morning.
To assist foreign correspondents in covering the elections, the Information Authority arranged a trip to North Sinai, where 24 correspondents from 18 foreign media outlets reported on voting in al-Arish, al-Sheikh Zuwaid, Bir al-Abd, and the Rafah crossing situation.
Rashwan emphasized that no adverse reports concerning the electoral process's atmosphere, integrity, or state authority interference have been published, nor have there been any mentions of restrictions on observers, journalists, or candidates' freedoms.
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