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Facts on Egypt’s 2024 Presidential Elections

Elections represent the essence of the democratic process as a tool for expressing opinion and a channel for change through which the political system witnesses a state of rotation and peaceful transfer of power as their results come in response to the voters’ desires. Election means “choice amongst many” as you choose what you believe is appropriate from your point of view. In political science, election refers to the procedure through which citizens exercise their will in choosing their rulers or representatives from several candidates, while some titles, such as officers and judges, may not be able to vote by virtue of their position.

By examining the elections, we find that it is a “right” every citizen who has reached the age of political maturity has the right to exercise the right to choose in all entitlements. Hence, the principle of universal suffrage is applied, meaning the contribution of all citizens to the election process. Elections are also a “duty” every citizen who holds the nationality of his country must participate in public affairs, as well as a “legal authority” derived from the constitution and law, and this authority is organized in order to involve all citizens in the selection process.

Several features characterize democratic elections, as they are direct general elections in which all citizens who meet the conditions themselves participate, except for those who are deprived by law due to the nature of their jobs or their mental incompetence, also, they are built on the principle of equality, as every citizen has one vote, equal to other citizens, so there is no discrimination based on gender, age, wealth, place of residence, education, or other demographic characteristics. Moreover, elections are based on the rule of confidentiality when casting votes, so that every citizen can complete the selection process without being subjected to any sort of harassment or pressure. Besides, they are conducted periodically in order to exchange places between individuals and groups according to popular choice. Democratic Elections are fair elections that do not witness interference from authorities that manage the electoral process and do not witness bias in favor of one candidate at the expense of another.

Modern Egypt experienced elections for the first time more than one hundred and fifty years ago, specifically in 1866, as the election of the first parliament under the name of the Shura Council of Representatives, was held. Parliamentary elections continued over years during which citizens exercised their right to vote. Egypt knew plurality presidential elections for the first time in 2005, and then rounds of plurality presidential elections followed, until we reached the fifth presidential election, the 2024 election, so that the winner will continue in the presidency until 2030.

The 2024 elections were held in accordance with a constitutional and legal context that regulates the procedural process in a clear and specific manner. The Egyptian Constitution indicated in Article (87) that every citizen has the right to vote, run, and express his opinion in the referendum, and the state is committed to including the name of every citizen in the voter database. Law No. 45 of 2014 regulating the exercise of political rights stipulates a set of political rights enjoyed by the Egyptian citizen, most prominently his right to elect the President of the Republic, in addition to electing members of Parliament and local councils. Additionally, the names of those who meet the voter conditions are also automatically registered in the voter database without any impediment; however, some individuals are exempt from exercising this right, due to the nature of their work, namely officers and members of the armed forces, and officers and members of the police forces, throughout the period of their service.

Understanding these constitutional and legal texts brings us to a number of facts, the most notable of which is that political practice – and those in charge of it in Egypt – view expressing an opinion and voting in referendums and all electoral entitlements as a right that must be exercised by any citizen registered in the voter database, and that this matter is considered a duty based on the necessity of participating in public life, as well as implementing the system of automatic registration in the voter database without the requirement of the citizen to express his desire to register, as is the case in many countries of the world.

The presidential elections were held in light of critical determinants, which demonstrated the state’s eagerness to organize and conduct them in a “free,” “fair,” and “facilitated” manner, the most prominent of these determinants are:

• Pluralism amongst candidates competing for the Presidency, as we witnessed competition between four candidates, including three party leaders, which reflects positive progress in the parties’ understanding of their roles and functions in a way that goes beyond formal existence or social prestige, to building cadres capable of peaceful competition, and exerting effort to persuade and attract voters, as well as implementing promises in the case of winning. This plurality of candidates also reflected the political progress Egypt is witnessing, which appeared through the national dialogue called by the President, and came in support of the electoral process, especially since the parties are the political entities concerned with informing citizens on how to practice politics at its various levels and implement the political recruitment of qualified cadres for peaceful competition.

• The exceptional circumstances in which the elections were held, amid serious threats facing Egyptian national security, as we are witnessing escalating tensions across the eastern, western, and southern borders of the Egyptian state. These tensions require complete vigilance from all state agencies and institutions, most notably the President, in order to preserve the security of the state, and provide an environment that supports peace and development. These tensions may have imposed themselves on the voter, as they contributed to determining his choice, as well as his priorities during the forthcoming period.

• The nature of the current stage that the Egyptian state is going through, as it has achieved a number of achievements over the course of nine years, which created an urgent need to preserve them, through attaining new interactions between the citizen and the state, in addition to recalling different criteria in evaluation and selection, not based on a traditional electoral program as much as on an integrated vision about the status, role, and aims of the Egyptian state in the next stage, and the extent of interconnection between regional and internal issues.

• Institutionalizing and regularizing the electoral process, through the supervision of the National Election Authority, which is responsible for all electoral process procedures, alongside with full judicial supervision, through more than 15000 judges who were distributed among about 11 thousand electoral committees, which represented a fundamental guarantee for the integrity of the electoral process.

• The monitoring of national and international civil society organizations, as it was one of the most important determinants of the electoral process, contributed to providing an environment supportive of the integrity of the election to guarantee  a free and fair elections, and hence reflected Egypt’s will to  bring the electoral process to its best possible form.

• Caring for people of determination, and keenness to provide all means that allow them to participate easily, freely, and fairly, as Braille-coded electoral identity cards were distributed among the blind, along with introductory videos of the procedures of the electoral process for those who are deaf and dumb, so that they can know how to cast their vote to prevent it from being invalid, and furthermore, distributing electoral committees for people with mobility impairments to be on the ground floors.

In conclusion, the presidential elections were an extensive process for all Egyptian citizens who have the right to vote, whether internally or abroad, and emphasized the fact that belonging to the state and participating in its development is an obligation for everyone, no matter how far apart. Perhaps this fact is linked to another fact, which is that the presidential elections represented a turning point in the history of the development of Egypt’s political system, towards further institutionalization and governance for the sake of a more aware citizen and a more stable, secure, and developed society.

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