Millions of Egyptians turned out today to cast their ballots in a historical presidential election 15-months after the ouster of 30-year autocrat Hosni Mubarak as the country's political future hangs in the balance.
And though a Gallup poll released yesterday shows that 82 percent of Egyptians are anticipating a "fair" and "honest" election, Russia Today is reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood – a radical Islamist group vying for political power in the country – and other "Islamist" groups may be bribing poor voters with food in exchange for votes.
Members of the brotherhood are also warning voters that their very souls are at stake.
From the RT report:
The Muslim Brotherhood has reportedly been handing out pamphlets and blaring messages from car speakers telling people to vote for them, or risk not going to heaven, she added.
Said Sadek from the American University in Cairo confirmed to RT that there were some groups, especially Islamist, who tried to exploit poor voters. They “mobilize those people to vote in a particular way in return for some food stuff, some money,” Sadek explained. “They say if you do not vote for the particular candidate you will go to hell.”
He concluded that “rigging of the election” is not a problem, but that the real fear is “what happens outside polling stations.”
Mohammed Morsi, a top Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, were reportedly seen outside polling stations in various districts in Cairo during the first day of voting, urging Egyptians to vote for them, according to the report.
The Muslim Brotherhood previously claimed they would not seek the presidency but that promise was broken when the group placed a candidate on the ballot.
Apparently it's not just the Muslim Brotherhood candidates who are trying to sway voters through questionable means.
Reporting from Cairo, RT correspondent Paula Stiler learned that people in the Nile Delta are being bribed with "a few dollars and meal" to support presidential candidate Amr Moussa, who is not directly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood though he shares many of the group's anti-Israel beliefs.
Approximately 500 million Egyptians are currently selecting a new president from a list of 13 total candidates. Officials are anticipating election results to be verified by May 29 unless none of the candidates are able to establish a clear majority. In that case, a runoff election will be held on June 16-17.
CNN reports on Egypt's election where Egyptians will elect their leader for the first time in thousands of years. Watch here: