The American Research Center in Eygpt

From Cairo: An ARCE Staff Member's Take on Egypt's Recent Election

From Cairo: An ARCE Staff Member's Take on Egypt's Recent Election

From Cairo: An ARCE Staff Member's Take on Egypt's Recent Election
ARCE Staff_voting_for_website

The ARCE Cairo staff proudly display their "pink fingers" after voting. Photo: Jane Smythe

Just five weeks after the January 25 Revolution and the resignation of President Mubarak on February 11, Egyptians went to the polls to vote on a referendum for constitutional change. Polling stations around Cairo and the country were crowded with first time voters of all ages - from 18 to 80 - the majority were voting  for the very first time.

Everyone knew exactly what they were there to do. It was instinctive without the need for foreign observers. It was orderly, calm and exciting at the same time as young and old, Muslim and Copt stood together sharing their enthusiasm and hopes for a better Egypt. Whatever the outcome it was a clear sign that an inclusive political process had taken root in Egypt.

It has been reported that some 41% of the population turned out to vote. The electoral commission reported 77.2 percent of the voters cast yes votes in favor of the constitutional amendments. But more importantly than the result was the act of voting itself and the realization that change has come to Egypt. It was the first time in the memory of the electorate that the outcome was not a forgone conclusion. There was a tangible element of anticipation.

Many voters said they wanted to take part in shaping their country’s future and they were convinced their votes would now make a difference. And that is why the ARCE employees in the photo above are proudly showing off their "pink" fingers: a sign that they were there, at the polls, voting and moving the country along on its path toward democracy, fulfilling their duties as citizens in the new Egypt where their voices and opinions are heard.

Djodi Deutsch is ARCE's Academic Programs Coordinator.

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