- Title: EGYPT: Elderly voters participate in Egypt elections.
- Date: 30th November 2011
- Summary: INK ON ATIYYA'S FINGER VARIOUS OF ELDERLY VOTERS IN POLLING STATION
- Embargoed: 15th December 2011 12:00
- Location: Egypt, Egypt
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA994HNJ129U2HGU5SMU962WG2R
- Story Text: Some of them have not voted for decades, but now elderly Egyptians are taking part in democratic elections.
Hussein Lutfi Atiyya is 78-years-old and on Tuesday (November 29), he made his way, supported by a friend, into a Cairo polling station.
Walking with difficulty, Atiyya's steps were were slow but steady. Unable to make his way up the stairs that lead to the ballot boxes, Atiyya accepted the offer of a seat in the courtyard of the polling station - offered to him by soldiers overseeing the area. He was then offered a cup of tea and shortly after that the ballot papers came to him.
Atiyya cast his vote with the help of four soldiers and an election official. He came because he wants the best for his country.
"God willing, I have come to vote for what God sees is best for the country, God willing I will chose what is best for the country and I ask God that he rids us of the past," Atiyya said. "There is hope, hope in God and there is hope in the people too, God willing."
Another elderly voter, Amir Hassan Mohammed, was very emotional after casting his ballot but did say--with tears in his eyes-- that he voted because it is a responsibility.
He was asked if he was happy to be voting.
"Of course. May God help them succeed," Mohammed said.
Some 30 years of Mubarak rule had left many disenchanted with the entire political system in Egypt and many had little faith in the country's elections. Consequently, some chose not to vote at all.
An elderly lady who did not give her name, told Reuters TV that she had not participated in elections for 40 years.
"For 40 years, I haven't come to elections. I've come to raise Egypt's head high in the world."
Many elderly voters have lived through a number of elections in Egypt that have brought with them little progress. Most just want to feel like their government and their country is taking care of them.
"I want people who will serve us, to be honest - the ones before were not serving us, they were thieves," said voter Ahmed Hassan.
A member of Egypt's ruling military council said on Tuesday that he expected turnout in the first stage of a parliamentary election to exceed 70 percent.
Egypt's first parliamentary vote since Hosni Mubarak was ousted began on Monday (November 28) and the first round of voting is being held over two days. The staggered vote will be spread over six weeks.
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