African Union cites 'transparency', Arab League says 'no violations' in Egypt elections

Wednesday 21-10-2015 05:23 PM
African Union cites 'transparency', Arab League says 'no violations' in Egypt elections

Employees count ballots inside a polling station after the conclusion of voting in the first phase of the parliamentary elections on Oct. 21, 2015. ASWAT MASRIYA/ Moussa al-Zarif


CAIRO, Oct. 21 (Aswat Masriya) - Preliminary findings by the African Union (AU) observation mission on Wednesday said there were no barriers to affect the integrity of Egypt's parliamentary elections, while the Arab League (AL) mission said it did not identify any violations. 

Egypt has completed the first phase of voting in the parliamentary elections, which included 14 provinces. The second and last phase of voting is slated for Nov. 21 - 23. 

The head of the AU mission, Amos Sawyer, told a press conference aired live on state television Wednesday, that members of the mission observed that the elections were carried out under transparency, "to a great extent."

The AU mission is made up of 35 observers and will also observe the second phase of voting. There were 103 general election committees as well as 5,460 polling stations and sub-committee in the first phase.

Sawyer, who was the former interim president of Liberia, said observers also noted that non-governmental organisations and international observers were allowed to observe "without restrictions". 

Meanwhile, Haifa Abu Ghazala, the head of the AL mission which is made up of 100 observers said no violations were detected, but added that there were some "positive and negative observations." 

Abu Ghazala said some campaigning continued during the two days of voting, which is a violation of the 18-day window provided by the Supreme Elections Commission (SEC) for campaigning. She also said some polling stations opened their doors later than scheduled but added that these observations "do not significantly affect the electoral process." 

SEC had announced its approval for 87 organisations to observe the race, including six international organisations, and that it has granted permits to over 17,000 local observers and over 700 international ones. 

International observers include Democracy International which fielded a "limited" mission to Egypt after "some visas for accredited core team members and short-term observers had not been issued and that most visas have not been issued for the duration necessary to observe the entire election process."

But unlike, DI, the Carter Center has made its mission to assess the legal and political conditions surrounding the presidential elections in May 2014 its last mission in Egypt. In October 2014, the Center said that “in the political context of narrowed space and polarization, the Center has decided to close its office and end operations in Egypt.”

There are also 61 embassies in Egypt following the election race. The embassies had made their request to observe upon the invitation of the Egyptian government, local officials said.

Observation missions have the authority to gather information and make a judgement based on the information but do not have the power to intervene or prevent violations.  

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