Egypt: Legitimising the poll

(UPDATE May 12, 2014: Rebels declare victory in east Ukraine poll, on english Al Jazeera, May 11, 2014: Pro-Russia separatists announce 89 percent of voters in Donetsk favoured self-rule, in referendum rejected by Kiev).

Egypt’s upcoming presidential polls will be heavily supervised by local judges and foreign monitors – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Gamal Essam El-Din, May 8, 2014.

Seventy nine domestic civil society groups and five foreign organisations — the European Union (EU), the Arab League, the Carter Center, Transparency International and the US-based Democracy International (DI) — have been licensed to observe the presidential polls, says Abdel-Aziz Salman, spokesman for the Presidential Election Commission (PEC).  

Though just two candidates are standing in this year’s elections “the number of local and foreign monitors observing the presidential polls far exceeds the number registered in the 2012 election when 13 candidates ran for office,” said Salman.

The EU decision to send observers was not unopposed. Western media reports cite significant voices in favour of the deployment and others critical of it. The latter argued the EU should not engage in any monitoring of the Egyptian presidential election process since it would fail to meet EU’s standards of free and fair ballots … //

… Ashton said she had been unable to meet Brotherhood officials during her Cairo visit due to “logistical difficulties”. The Brotherhood claims Ashton did not try to contact the group before the trip. The Brotherhood anti-coup alliance denounced her visit as “evil”.

According to Salman 120 Egyptian NGOs and 13 international organisations applied for monitoring status. The spokesman added that the EU will be sending 150 observers, the Arab League 70, “an unprecedented number of foreign observers and the first time so many have been accredited”. Some organisations that failed to be accredited may, Salman said, be accorded guest status, similar to that already granted to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and the National Council for Women.

EU monitors met this week with representatives from the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies, a local NGO with experience of observing elections. Dahlia Ziada, Executive director of the Centre, said the EU mission included diplomats and parliamentarians from several European countries. The two will cooperate in monitoring the application of campaign rules, the impartiality of government authorities and of media coverage as well as observing the ballot.

Salman revealed that 36 of the 44 national and international media institutions, and 13 of the 18 satellite television channels that applied to cover the elections had been granted permission. Journalists from 36 Egyptian press organisations and nine news portals were also granted permission to cover the polls.

“Foreign and local observers will take part in monitoring 14,000 polling stations across Egypt. These stations will be under the full supervision of 16,000 judges.
(full text).


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