Low Egypt vote turnout galvanizes Brotherhood

2014-05-28 18:04
Muslim Brotherhood supporter. (File, AFP)

Muslim Brotherhood supporter. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Fayoum - Even though the former army chief who removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power is expected to become Egypt's next president, a vote with low turnout has raised hopes in a desert oasis that the Islamist movement can make a comeback one day.

Many residents of Fayoum, an Islamist stronghold south of Cairo, support the Brotherhood, which has won nearly every election since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

But Islamists here and in other parts of the country have grown increasingly demoralised since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled President Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood last July.

Sisi is expected to win Egypt's presidential election, which was extended to a third day on Wednesday to boost turnout.

But nearly empty polling stations have raised doubts over the level of support for the man who the Brotherhood says staged a coup and destroyed Egypt's experiment with democracy.

Brotherhood members here like Mohamed Abdel Hafeez interpret the low turnout as a sign that Egyptians no longer believe the official narrative that hails Sisi as a hero and demonises Islamists as terrorists.

"We're betting on the steadfastness of the people in the streets and we're betting on the people's awareness which is starting to spread," said the clean-shaven Abdel Hafeez, sipping tea at an open-air cafe in the early evening heat.

"Our battle is one of awareness."

The organised and disciplined Brotherhood has gained many followers in Egypt through preaching, charities and social networks since it was founded in 1928. Its steady work eventually earned enough respect to propel Morsi to power.

But his year in office was a disaster for the Brotherhood.

Many Egyptians felt he was usurping power, imposing the Brotherhood's rigid ideology and mismanaging the economy. They staged mass protests, prompting Sisi to step in.

Four fingers

"Now that we are out of power, we have the opportunity to return to the masses," said Abdel Hafeez, 27, a veterinarian.

"The Brotherhood wasn't doing awareness during the last year (Morsi's year). It was too busy with affairs of state and problems. It neglected communicating with the people."

From the window of a nearby building, young girls repeated a chant used at protests in Fayoum and nearby farming villages: "Sisi is a killer!"

Graffiti in Fayoum's central district calls Sisi a "traitor" and a "killer" and insists that "Mursi is returning".

One crude drawing depicts the four-finger sign representing the square where hundreds of Brotherhood supporters were killed last August when security forces cleared a protest camp.

Residents have staged demonstrations and clashed with police every week since Morsi's fall but opposition to the army-backed government has failed to change Egypt's political landscape. Sisi became more popular even as repression spread.

Low voter turnout marked the first signal that public opinion may be changing.

Vendetta

Abdel Hafeez said more than 600 people had been arrested in Fayoum in the last nine months. He said he had been forced into hiding by a security crackdown which had reached the lower levels of the Brotherhood's leadership structure.

He said 114 people were killed by security forces in Fayoum, a city of about three million.

"That's 114 families. Each member of those families now has a vendetta against the regime and won't back down," he said.

The low election turnout has emboldened Abdel Hafeez, who feels that perhaps the Brotherhood may once again have a chance in the battle for hearts and minds of Egyptians, even though Mursi and other leaders are on trial.

He speaks of a three-year plan to create the environment for a revolution. "There are many means," he said.

"The movement which was sidelined by force is still popular and can still mobilize the masses despite oppression."

Read more on:    muslim brotherhood  |  abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.