Egypt warns non-voters with heavy fines

Authorities urge citizens to take part in presidential poll amid calls by opposition to boycott vote
CAIRO: Egypt’s official electoral commission has said it would impose financial penalties on citizens who failed to cast ballots in presidential polls that wrapped up on Wednesday.
In a statement issued hours before polling stations closed their doors, the commission vowed to enforce “legal provisions” allowing for the imposition of fines on voters who fail to take part in elections.
“A fine of no more than 500 Egyptian pounds [$28] will be asked from each registered voter who neglected to vote,” the statement read.
For the last three days, the Egyptian authorities and pro-regime media have been urging citizens to take part in the polling amid opposition calls to boycott the vote.
Roughly 59 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in the election, in which incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is facing off against Musa Mustafa Musa, the leader of a little-known liberal party.
Final election results are expected to be announced next Monday.
The poll is being held amid tight security as the Egyptian army continues to fight a deadly militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.
Al-Sisi is widely predicted to win in a landslide after several would-be challengers — including a popular former army chief — were effectively sidelined in the run-up to the election.
A former defense minister, al-Sisi spearheaded a 2013 military coup that unseated Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group.–AA

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