Egypt's presidential elections continued for the third and final day Wednesday in a vote expected to give President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a sweeping victory in the absence of real competition.
Egyptian authorities pressed for a high turnout Tuesday, March 27, and in an effort to enthuse voters, the state news agency reminded Egyptians that voting is mandatory and those who do not vote, face a fine of up to US$28, a sanction that in previous elections has not been enforced rigorously.
Reuters reported people had been offered money, food boxes, and other services if they went voting, as the turnout was about 21 percent after the first two days of the process.
"I just went to vote so I can dip my finger in the paint and took the 50 pounds ($3)," said a woman in Cairo's working-class Ward estate, declining to give her name for fear of reprisals by authorities.
Another group of women declared they were promised oil and rice in exchange for their votes.
In Beheira province, governor Nadia Abdou told Mehwar private TV channel on Monday: "Whichever municipality has the most votes, we will fix their water, sewage, and electricity ... We will reward those people who came out in large numbers."
Other people were given time off work and other responsibilities, so they could attend the polls, promising to come back with their inked fingers for a check-out.
Appearing on national television, Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the national election commission, told Egyptians: "Declare to the world that Egypt always makes history, for you are the Pharaohs, the makers of the civilization that amazed the world."
"Oh great people of Egypt, complete the journey of the past two days as you have always presented the best example of faithful patriotism and stabbed the forces of evil in the chest," he said.
Sisi says he is seeking a second term to repair the economic damage from years of political turmoil, to defeat Islamist insurgents and revive Egypt's role as a pre-eminent Arab power.
Throughout different stations, there has been a low turn-out for the youth, with an elder demographic leading the voting.
The election commission has said the vote will be free and fair, and Sisi said he would have liked more opponents to stand.
Sisi has said he will not seek a third term, but critics expect him to scrap a two-presidential term limit.
According to official numbers, the 2014 presidential elections had a turnout of 47.5 percent, with Sisi winning with 23.78 million votes, just 96.91 percent of the total.