Complaints of delays and irregularities could be heard across Cairo on Monday, and droves of Egyptians waited hours in line to vote in the first elections since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Some of the delays were caused by tardy voting station managers, who, in turn claimed that they were either stuck in traffic or simply lost as to where they were supposed to arrive. Some locations opened almost four hours late.
Other reports said that the massive sheets used to mark down candidates to represent Cairo district, which included no less than 122 different names, were late to arrive at several stations.
Elsewhere, political activists were seen breaking the law by handing out propaganda near voting booths, and sometimes even walking voters in.
In old Cairo, one candidate, an owner of a cooking gas firm, was arrested for handing out free gas to prospective voters.
In some of the neighborhoods voting rates were extremely high, with long lines snaking out of one voting stations in the Maadi neighborhood.
“I’ve been waiting for hours,” Salah Taufik said, “but we’ve been waiting for this day in Egypt for seventy years, so what are a few hours.”
Referring to prevalent complaints of voting irregularities, Taufik said he hoped they “weren’t intentional but as a result of a lack of experience. And if they are directed from high up, we’ll have to overcome that too. Egypt has just started its way toward democracy. I’m optimistic and believe it’ll take another ten years.”
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