Egyptians vote in presidential election
(CNN) — The first day of voting in Egypt’s presidential election was relatively quiet, state media reported Monday, though one man connected to a campaign was shot to death.
Polls will reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday for the last day of voting. Egyptians are choosing between two candidates: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabahy.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb declared Tuesday a public holiday “in compliance to citizens’ wishes,” state TV reported. The decision is thought to be a move to increase turnout.
Public service ads, media campaigns and the electoral ads of the el-Sisi campaign stressed that voting is a patriotic duty.
The election was called because Mohamed Morsy, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was removed from power in July in a popular military coup.
A man working for el-Sisi’s campaign was fatally shot near Cairo on Monday, Interior Ministry spokesman Alaa Mahmoud said.
Mohamed Fathy, 35, was getting out of a taxi in the village of Kerdassa on the western edge of Cairo when he was shot in the head by unknown gunmen, Mahmoud said.
Fathy was active in the el-Sisi presidential campaign and was a member of the Tamarod political movement, according to a statement from Tamarod.
Police are investigating, but Assistant Interior Minister for Information Abdel-Fattah Othman has said the slaying has nothing to do with the election process.
Tamarod has blamed the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, which had held a small protest in Kerdassa earlier in the day.
Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, criticized the election: “What you have in Egypt now is not democracy but a militacracy. … What we have now is Mubarak coming back. Sisi is Mubarak version 2014, and that is the tragedy.”
Mahmoud also said a bomb was detected and defused at the Ahmed Sayed I school polling station in Giza.
Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA reported clashes in a polling station at Umraniya district but said they didn’t disrupt the vote.
Beni Suef Security Director Ibrahim Hadib said that seven members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested for trying to disrupt the electoral process in that town, MENA reported.
A number of people hurled Molotov cocktails at the headquarters of el-Sisi’s campaign in the town of Hosh Issa. No material damage or casualties were reported, MENA said.
The Sabahy campaign similarly reported disruptions.
“The day has sadly witnessed many violations observed, documented and announced by the campaign, led by banning Sabahy delegates from entering polling centers, collective voting, physical assaults against delegates and lawyers, let alone some cases of intervention by police and army forces,” it said in a statement.
“The campaign hopes that these violations would not repeat tomorrow.”
By Ralph Ellis
CNN’s Salma Abdelaziz and journalists Dina Amer and Sarah Sirgany contributed to this report.