Public employees get paid holiday for election

Government employees will get two paid days off during the presidential election on 16 and 17 June, Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri announced Wednesday.

Ganzouri urged people to accept whatever outcome the runoff yields, and voiced hope that political stability would be restored.

There are some 5 million government employees, including municipal staff, according to the state's Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. The now-dissolved National Democratic Party traditionally mobilized government employees to support the ruling party under President Hosni Mubarak.

Competing in the runoffs are the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

Political and legal experts speaking to the Freedom and Justice Party's website earlier this month had criticized the government’s plan to give public employees vacation during the polls, dismissing the move as a waste of public funds.

The commentators said employees may be instructed to vote for Shafiq, alleging that several officials have warned their employees they will lose their jobs if they do not.

The website quoted the same sources as saying that the prime minister's decision is illegal as state-decreed vacations are limited to national holidays by law.

Salah Gouda, professor at Nahda University in Beni Suef, claims the paid vacation days will cost the state LE250 million.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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