Egypt: Will the person who voted for Musa please stand up?


He may be one of just two candidates in Egypt’s presidential election, but finding someone in Cairo who is voting for Musa Mustafa Musa is far from an easy task.

Moving from one polling station to another, through Cairo’s busy streets, Arab News struggled to locate a single Musa voter.
Over two long days and with visits to polling stations in Maadi, Sayeda Zayneb, New Cairo and Nasr City, not one person we met was willing to voice their support for the only rival to Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Finally, in one of the polling stations in Agouza, a central district on the banks of the Nile, there was success.
Nadia, a housewife in her 40s living in the neighborhood, said she was supporting Musa.

But her decision was based not on an admiration for his policies or dislike of the incumbent.
“Well, I am here to support Musa Mustafa Musa because I don’t want the election results to look bad,” Nadia said with a smile.

El-Sisi won 97 percent of the vote in 2014, and is assured of victory when the three days of voting end on Wednesday.
The opposition has claimed the government deterred other potential rivals through a strategy of intimidation.

Musa has been unashamed in saying his candidacy is essentially in support of El-Sisi.
During the election campaign, the leader of the secular and centrist Al Ghad party even produced a banner supporting El-Sisi. “We support you for another presidential term,” it said.

As a result, his efforts have been viewed with a degree of ridicule.
On Twitter, a hashtag created by his campaign and containing Musa’s name has been trending due to the number of jokes about his candidacy.

One tweet said: “Go back to sleep Hajj Musa, we will wake you up once El-Sisi wins.”
Musa dismisses accusations he is being used to present a false sense of competition, and the electoral commission says it will ensure the vote is fair and transparent.

The candidate earlier said his last-minute decision to challenge El-Sisi was intended to rescue Egypt. The constitution will not allow a sole contender.

“If he falls, we all fall,” Musa said in a television interview.
The strange circumstances mean that Musa is warmly received among El-Sisi voters.

“We are not doing enough to thank you (Musa). Even a whole century of appreciation is not enough. You have proved that you are a true soldier of Egypt”, said Mona El-Ashry, Cairo resident and an El-Sisi supporter.

Musa said during his campaign that he expects to win 20-25 percent of the vote with the help of 7,500 campaigners.
But judging by the response at polling stations during the first two days of voting, the chances that one out of five people will vote for him seem slim.

Meanwhile, El-Sisi has fended off questions about the lack of opposition.

“It is not my fault,” he said in a recent interview. “I wished there would have been more candidates for people to choose who they want. But they were not ready yet, there is no shame in this.”

Egyptian authorities arrested former army Gen. Sami Anan in January, saying his candidacy breached the laws of his military service.

Former prime minister Ahmed Shafik and human-rights lawyer Khaled Ali announced their candidacies, but withdrew later.

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