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Egyptian expats set to vote for positive change

Voters are looking for good education and fair judiciary system

  • Supporters show placards with portraits of Egypt’s former defence minister turned presidential candidate AbdulImage Credit: AP
  • Thomas SimonImage Credit: Supplied
  • Yomna SamiImage Credit: Supplied
  • Mohammad ArafatImage Credit: Supplied
  • Rana Ala’a HaweelImage Credit: Supplied
  • Engy EbrahimImage Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: More than 10 months after the overthrow of Mohammad Mursi, Egyptian expats are ready to vote in the next presidential elections with a hope to make a positive change in the political and social landscape in Egypt.

Egyptians will have to choose between the former army chief Abdul Fattah Al Sissi and Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 election, at the voting from Wednesday till Sunday to be held in Egypt embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai.

Some voters decided not to give their voices, as they ‘don’t really see’ a qualified candidate for the presidency.

“I don’t think that neither Abdul Fattah Al Sissi nor anyone else will solve any of Egypt’s problems. The problem is within the Egyptians. People will be blinded if he makes a mistake or fails and will make excuses for him because they see him as their saviour,” Mohammad Arafat, an expat, told Gulf News.

He asked, “But do we have a choice?

“This is the result of 30 years of Mubarak destroying the political life in Egypt leaving no proper politician capable of running the country,” Arafat, 25, said.

Asked what needs to be changed, he answered: “Strict regulations should be issued by the government to help people be more productive. For example a deduction in an employee’s salary should be implemented if she/he is late for work.”

Engy Ebrahim, 25, who lives in Dubai, believes that Al Sissi is the best candidates for the presidency. “Right now I believe that Al Sissi is the best candidate. Of the candidates, he is the only one who is more qualified. He is respected by many and Egyptians, who want him to become a president in a hope to fix the previous mistakes and political crises happened during the Muslim Brotherhood era.”

“Egypt needs a president with a distinguished military résumé at least for now. Al Sissi proved to be worthy of leading a country the size of Egypt,” she added.

A 52-year-old expat sees that Egypt needs a strong and wise president to bring it back on the right track.

“What I believe is that at this critical stage, Egypt needs a strong and wise president, who could bring it back on the right track. Al Sissi is probably the one; however, I was hoping to find another candidate and has no military résumé. I am still hoping that we will see this happening in the near future,” Sami Abdul Rahim said.

Asked if there were other qualified candidates, will he still choose Al Sissi? He answered, “Theoretically yes, but practically speaking, so far the other candidate running for presidency is not as powerful as he is.”

“I am optimistic about Egypt’s political and economic future with Al Sissi being its president because he is supported by a majority of Egyptians as well as many countries in the region. Egypt needs a great reform and positive signs of this reform have already started to show in certain aspects. For example, sexual harassment and the attitudes that reinforce it,” he added.

On a flip side, Rana Ala’a Haweel, an Abu Dhabi resident, said, “I do not believe that Al Sissi will be my choice, despite many people’s opinion. I believe in democracy, peace and I don’t like violence. Al Sissi has outstanding experience in his field as a former army chief, but not as a president.”

Asked if she studied other candidate’s profiles, who are running for presidency, she said,” I have not yet studied other candidates in full detail to be able to give any opinion at this point; however, I do know for sure that it will not be Al Sissi. I just do not see him fit.”

Although the revolution provided a good example of the ethics and resilience of the Egyptian people, some Egyptians overseas believe that people are now behaving less politely.

Yomna Sami, an expat in Abu Dhabi, wants the Egyptian people to change more than anything else.

“I want a fair president and a fair judiciary system, but again, people have to change a lot,” Yomna, 22, told Gulf News.

With Egypt’s total number of illiterates exceeded 16 million in 2012, there is an urgent need to change the education system.

“We need more qualified and competent people to build the country. Since the revolution, things have gone from bad to worse. Education system is still suffering in Egypt. There is a need to change curriculums taught in schools. Teachers’ pay should rise and schools should be expanded to accommodate more pupils,” an Egyptian expat, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Gulf News.

A study conducted by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) revealed that the percentage of illiteracy among poor families has increased to 41 per cent as opposed to 24 per cent in non-poor families.