Egyptians tweet on disorganized but peaceful elections

With the hashtag “EgyElections,” much of Monday’s Twitter coverage focused on Egypt’s first parliamentary elections post-Hosni Mubarak.

The week’s build-up to the elections was overshadowed by fatalities and injuries, as protesters clashed with security forces in and around Tahrir Square last week. The death toll stands at 46, with hundreds more injured.

Consequently, many decided to boycott Monday’s vote in order to deny legitimacy to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which oversees the elections.

Calls continue in Tahrir Square and its environs for the military to step down and hand over power to a civilian government .

Nevertheless, there was an overwhelming sense of excitement on Monday among voters, many of whom were voting for the first time in their lives.

“I am so proud, it is my first time to vote and that is thanks to martyrs of #Jan25,” Ahmed Emad tweeted with a picture of his pink ink-stained finger.

“Now at my dad’s polling station. The woman in front of us is 73, first time to vote, says she doesn’t want religion in politics,” tweeted Dalia Ezzat.

More people showed up to vote than was anticipated, and while queues outside polling stations were long, those forced to wait in line remained determined to cast their vote.

“Four hours and still waiting. Line to vote in Zamalek goes around several blocks and down a long main street,” Yasmine al-Rashidi tweeted. She then added: “Cast my vote. Amazing feeling.”

One tweeter who goes by the name TheBigPharoah was so affected by Monday’s turnout that he decided vote, despite having said earlier that he would boycott the election.

“I decided to vote and not ruin my ballot. Been standing for an hour with hundreds who believe in the process. Yet revolution continues.”

And of the boycotters, many still went to polling stations to monitor election violations.

“I remind you all that I'm boycotting the elections – a decision made a couple of months ago. I’m just covering the voting,” tweeted Tarek Shalaby.

He and many others reported on violations, including leafleting outside polling stations, the use of car-mounted loudspeakers, and continued campaigning via mobile text messages. Campaigning was supposed to have ended on Friday.

Many also commented on the fact that there was little violence. “So far no thugs nor bribes, just minor problems with organization. Besides army presence, no major issues so far,” Shalaby tweeted.

And so some decided to focus on the day’s humor: “Cilantro Zamalek waiters are at the voter queues taking orders and delivering. Sigh, Zamalek,” Mosa’ab Elshamy tweeted. Zamalek is an wealthy neighborhood in Cairo.

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