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Egypt: The Country Votes

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Elections 2011.

Egyptians are voting in parliamentary elections on November 28 and 29, 2011, and despite calls for a boycott, it seems that most people have chosen to participate.

Not all of Egypt votes on these dates; the elections are staggered across three stages, each covering nine governorates. The first stage includes the cities of Cairo and Alexandria.

Some people are not voting on principle, such as blogger and journalist Sarah Carr, who writes:

In case you’re asking I won’t be voting. Neither will several of my acquaintances. While there is a strong argument against a boycott (it might help keep out religiously conservative forces) it doesn’t sway my conviction that taking part in the election gives legitimacy to a regime that doesn’t deserve it, that has treated Egyptians like foolish children and whose only display of creativity during this never-ending transitional process has been in methods of killing people and building walls.

Ismail Naguib has also chosen not to vote:

For me, not voting has little to do with apathy. I believe that people should demand that an untainted civilian (perhaps in the form of a strong PM) or civilian council (perhaps in the form of Presidential Council) should be the authority to oversee the ministries who will manage parliamentary elections. Until that is the case I cannot, with a clear conscience, participate in parliamentary elections that grant legitimacy to a dictatorial force whose self interests are above those of the country.

Towards the end of the first day's voting, Mostafa Hussein was not convinced:

@moftasa: The voting was mostly free for a parliament that isn't.

And Sherief Gaber says:

@cairocitylimits: No matter who you vote for, the regime gets elected. #Egypt

Nevertheless, a great number of Egyptians have been voting, and there were long queues all over the country.

Waiting for voting papers to be delivered. Image by Twitter user @Selnadeem

Waiting for voting papers to be delivered. Image by Twitter user @Selnadeem

Pakinam Amer was not put off by the queues:

@pakinamamer: Two hours on, still standing in line. You know, democracy is hard (!) #lol #egyelections

Nor was Twitter user @CokiCoussa discouraged:

@CokiCoussa: When u see the queue, u think it has no end, but it's not that boring neither is it that bad, it's actually motivating :)

Nada Heggy had a question:

@NadaHeggy: Why we can't vote online instead of standing in long queue that consumes hours and hours #Egyelections. #Egypt

Queuing to vote in Alexandria. Image by Twitter user @mfatta7

Queuing to vote in Alexandria. Image by Twitter user @mfatta7

Mohamed El Dahshan remembered how this moment had been reached:

@TravellerW: Alright. Off to vote now, with our martyrs, protesters, and innocent prisoners in mind. #EgyElections #Tahrir

In the Cairo suburb of Zamalek, Fatenn Mostafa met other voters remembering those who were killed:

@FatennMostafa: A lot of women are wearing black in the zamalek queue! They answered: In memory of our #egymartyrs. #egyelections #Egypt

Despite the long waits, the complicated voting process, and accusations of violations, there has been a sense of excitement.

Voters in Assiut. Image by Twitter user @LaurenBohn

Voters in Assiut. Image by Twitter user @LaurenBohn

Canadian journalist Firas Al-Atraqchi spoke to voters in Cairo:

@Firas_Atraqchi: From talking to some of those in the queue I get an impression they are invested in the election process. They want to be heard #Egypt

Mosa'ab Elshamy was upbeat:

@mosaaberizing: Went to 5 different polling stations today. People are enjoying the queues and voting with a smile. Despite the violations, glorious day.

Mohamed Soliman was also optimistic:

@msoliman7: Proud of every Egyptian who stood or continues to stand in line to vote, the future is in your ink stained hands. #EgyElections

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Elections 2011.

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