Egyptians in Matrouh Governorate could be in with a chance of winning one of 500 free Umrah, lesser pilgrimage, trips if they cast their votes in the upcoming presidential elections, Almesryoon reported yesterday.
Everyone who votes will be entered in a public draw which will see the winners chosen at random, officials said. Local businessmen are said to be funding the initiative.
This comes amid calls for a boycott of the elections as opponents of coup leader and current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi are either lingering in jail or have been forced to withdraw their candidacy in the upcoming polls.
The former Prime Minister in the Mubarak era, Ahmed Shafik, and Sami Anan, Chief of the Army Staff who was removed by President Mohamed Morsi in 2012, are notable among those who have been forced to step down from their planned campaigns.
Thirteen local and international rights groups condemned Egypt's March presidential election last week, saying the race would neither be free nor fair.
"Egypt's government claims to be in a 'democratic transition' but move further away with every election," the groups said in a joint statement.
The country's electoral commission has pledged to run the vote "according to principles of independence, transparency and objectivity."