More Links in News & Events

Carter Center Slideshow: Egypt Voters Hopeful for Country's Future

  • A man walks by presidential candidate posters in Cairo in May. (Photos: D. Hakes/The Carter Center)

  • Hany Nasr, 26, shows his inked finger after voting on May 23.

  • A man casts his ballot in Cairo on May 23, 2012.

  • A crowd waits outside a polling station in Cairo on May 24, as voters queue and others check for their name on the voter registry.

In June, Egyptians chose the first democratically elected president in the country's history, and despite the challenging circumstances of the process, many voters still felt the moment's importance.

"I was born in the Mubarak-era and never knew what it felt like to choose my leader or participate in political life without being scared to be sent to jail," said Hany Nasr, 26, who traveled for nearly half a day to reach his hometown to vote. "This is one of the most important results of our revolution, regardless of who will be our next president. At least we can now choose."

Because of the election's significance, The Carter Center chose to witness despite facing unprecedented restrictions from the election commission. For example, accreditation badges were issued less than a week before the election began, and witnessing missions were prohibited from issuing statements prior to polling, being inside polling stations for more than 30-minutes, and observing the final aggregation of the results.

Although the election process itself was not without its flaws, it was indeed an important step forward for the country. Many remain confident in the nation's progression.

"We had violations to the election law but I am very optimistic because it is really hard to do something perfect the first time," said Nasr. "Breaches happened in the parliamentary elections too, but were less this time, which is a good indicator that Egypt is learning."

In another neighborhood of Cairo, many of those waiting in line expressed enthusiasm as they prepared to vote for the first time in their lives. "These are two days of feast for us," an elderly voter said. "The sun has risen in Egypt," said another.

Some of those who participated in the January 2011 revolution felt marginalized by the process and had lost enthusiasm, but 24-year-old Gehad Abada still thought it was important to vote.

"I am not hopeful about who we will elect as the next president per se, but I am hopeful that he will leave after four years and that we will hold him accountable for what he does, and for anything that goes wrong," she said.

In a country holding its first real election after decades of dictatorship under one person, it is this hope that has fueled the optimism of many voters.

The Carter Center's limited mission found that the vote appeared largely fair and competitive, but moves by the military to increase its power threw doubt on the process. (Read the Center's preliminary statement on Egypt's presidential runoff election.)

Donate Now

Sign Up For Email

Please sign up below for important news about the work of The Carter Center and special event invitations.

Please leave this field empty
Now, we invite you to Get Involved
Back To Top