Sisi allegedly bought votes to support new Egyptian referendum

Egypt’s elections authority has implied President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s victory, backed by the support of over 90% of voters. The comprehensive constitutional amendment could extend Sisi’s power until 2030.

The change will reform the 2014 constitution, prolonging the presidential term to six years. This will increase Sisi’s odds to get re-elected in 2024, thereby broadening presidential control over the judiciary, and setting out military’s involvement in politics.

However, reports suggest that Sisi attempted to iterate his mandate by buying votes among the poor Egyptians. Waiting outside the election booth, voters alleged of being bribed with packs of food, worth E£150, to cast their vote.

The photos went viral on social media of food boxes being distributed to the voters, with some carrying the logo of Future of the Nation party.

“I didn’t cast my vote to get a food bag, but the bag encouraged me to vote,” said an anonymous voter. She further discussed that a local trader took a snapshot of her ID card and number for receiving government subsidies 10 days prior to the voting.

She was given a pink slip after presenting this outside the booth, which was then stamped by the polling staff after she casted her vote. The slip was meant to exchange with a vendor for a food bag, including cooking oil, pasta and other foodstuffs.

She told The Guardian, “Poor Egyptians seek anything that can support them. I know many people who voted just to get a bag of food, because Ramadan is around the corner and prices are very high these days.”

The Guardian has obtained videos that were secretly filmed, showing plainclothes security officials, who were posted outside a major polling booth in Cairo, physically forcing people inside.

The election staff claimed that some voters asked them about the anonymity of ballots, fearing to getting caught at the polling station for voting against the new amendment.

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