UAB student casts historic vote in Egypt from Alabama

Egyptian national votes absentee, hopes revolution gains are not lost due to Islamist election victories.

Being a part of history in Egypt was simple. Register online. Download file. Print ballot. Fill out. Mail in. And with that Mahmoud Mansour Elsayed, a University of Alabama at Birmingham student, voted in Egypt’s first election since former President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

Elsayed_Sphinx_story“I knew that eventually people were going to get sick of the old regime and act,” says Elsayed, a 19-year-old in the Department of Biology. “If this election goes smoothly and the elected officials follow the people’s demands, then great things lie ahead for Egypt.”

Elsayed, an Egyptian national, spent much of his childhood in the United States. He moved from Auburn, Ala., back to Egypt as a young teen. He returned to the states for college and transferred to UAB this past year hoping to attend UAB School of Medicine. But his lofty educational goals were almost sidetracked in the spring.

“I wanted to leave my classes and join the revolution,” says Elsayed. “I had the TV news on 24/7, and was so focused I had to drop a philosophy class just to keep up with the latest information.”

Egypt’s election process involves three rounds of voting. The first round covered nine of the 27 provinces. Elsayed’s home district, Maadi, voted in round one.

“In my district, which isn’t as populous as downtown Cairo, there are 130 people running for Parliament, and each voter can pick only two. Then there are 16 political parties, and you can only vote for one party; they get political influence in Congress based on the number of votes they receive,” said Elsayed, who voted for the Freedom Party led by Amr Hamzawy.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party received the highest percentage of votes in the first round of voting. Elsayed says the Brotherhood does not reflect his interests, but if they win the next two rounds he hopes they become a benevolent patriarch of his Motherland.

“They have been a charity organization for the past 80 or so years,” said Elsayed. “They don’t have a bad reputation like some may want to believe, but I’m not sure if power will change them or corrupt them; we’ll just have to wait and see.”

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