World Bulletin/News Desk
Egyptian authorities could collect up to 14.3 billion Egyptian pounds (roughly $2 billion) if they make good on their warning to impose a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds (around $71) on Egyptians who failed to cast ballots in just-concluded presidential polls, according to a tally conducted by Anadolu Agency.
According to a tally by AA reporters at main polling stations, where vote counting took place nationwide, turnout stood at 47 percent of Egypt's 54 million eligible voters.
This means that that around 28.6 million eligible voters failed to vote, entitling the authorities to collect a total of some 14.3.billion Egyptian pounds from them.
In the last presidential election two years ago, which brought ousted president Mohamed Morsi to power, turnout stood at 51 percent of Egypt's 54 million eligible voters.
The warning is hardly new. Egypt's electoral commission has warned in past polls and referendums that it would enforce a clause in the elections law calling for fines on non-voters.
The warning, however, has never been put into action.
Yet a lower-than-expected turnout in the first two days of voting prompted electoral officials to return to the same tactic in hopes of pushing voters to go to the polls.
Unofficial results, tallied overnight after a three-day vote, indicated a resounding 96.7 percent win for army chief Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi– who led the army last July in ousting Morsi – against leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who failed to surpass over one million invalid votes, according to an AA tally.
Al-Sisi is poised to take over from interim president Adly Mansour, who was installed by the army following Morsi's ouster and imprisonment almost 11 months ago.
Observers say Egypt's interim authorities faced the challenge of drawing a greater number of voters than that seen in the 2012 polls – which established Morsi as the country's first freely elected leader – in order to give the new president legitimacy.
In a bid to encourage voters to cast ballots, the Egyptian government declared Tuesday, the second day of voting, an official holiday. The gesture, however, failed to boost turnout.
In a last-ditch effort, the electoral commission extended the vote, which kicked off Monday and had originally been scheduled to end on Tuesday, by an extra day.
Commission Secretary-General Abdel-Aziz Salman said the panel had decided to extend the vote to Wednesday to "allow the largest number of voters, including those living outside their home provinces, to cast ballots."
Objections to the decision – which were filed by both presidential contenders – were rejected by the electoral commission.Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mayıs 2014, 10:01