Nearly all the provinces 18 seats in the assembly went to Islamists, undoubtedly in large part because of tribal endorsements. Judging from the heated debates in and around Qena provinces polling stations, however, such voter unity shouldnt be expected for the presidential election.
I dont listen to the tribal leaders anymore the youth made everybody more aware, said Hassan Mohamed Ali, 67, from in the village of Gablaw, also named for a clan. The leaders used to tell us, Vote for this or that, but now they say, Go ahead, its your choice.
For Ali, that choice is Moussa, the Mubarak-era foreign minister, and not because hes a fan of the candidates platform. His first pick was the Brotherhoods Morsi, but the group failed to deliver on promises to address the villages complete lack of sewerage.
Raw sewage still spills from every home and pools in the narrow dirt roads, creating a health crisis thats especially devastating for children and the elderly, Ali said.
We cooperated with the Brotherhood in the parliamentary election, but they proved even worse they did nothing, Ali said. We removed the old people from the National Democratic Party because the Brotherhood promised us change, but weve seen none, so were going back to the old figures.
Eman Mohamed, 52, a womens advocate in the provincial capital, rattled off the names of six influential clans and their favored candidates a mix of Islamists and former-regime officials and added that the local Coptic Christian church, which is quietly backing Shafik, represented yet another important constituency.
Mohamed said that a lack of voter awareness stemming from the regions endemic poverty and illiteracy still ensures that each of those blocs is beneficial to their respective candidates. Still, she, too, has witnessed firsthand the effects of the nascent youth-led revolt against tribal authority.
She has one daughter campaigning for the secular Moussa, and another daughter whose top contender, the fundamentalist cleric Hazem Abu Ismail, was ruled ineligible to run. Mohameds husband, a police officer who belongs to a rival tribe, was leaning toward Moussa, but he hadnt made a final decision just hours before polls closed.
Mohamed said she voted for Aboul Fotouh, even though her tribal leaders had instructed all members to vote for the scales, the ballot symbol of the Brotherhoods Morsi.
Aboul Futouh isnt going to make us wear facial veils and turn women into ghosts, but he also wont turn the whole country into a disco, she explained. We need a moderate now.