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ICEM MONITORING THE RUN-OFF FOR THIRD PHASE (3)
 PRESS STATEMENTINDEPENDENT COMMITTEE ON ELECTION MONITORING-ICEMMONITORING THE RUN-OFF FOR THIRD PHASE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION Wednesday, December 7, 2005 11:00AM The Independent Committee for Election Monitoring (ICEM), a coalition of sixteen NGOs led by the Ibn Khaldun Center is deploying a total of 5,000 observers to monitor the voting process for the
Wednesday, December 7,2005 00:00
by (ICEM)

 PRESS STATEMENT
INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE ON ELECTION MONITORING-ICEM
MONITORING THE RUN-OFF FOR THIRD PHASE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION


Wednesday, December 7, 2005 11:00AM

The Independent Committee for Election Monitoring (ICEM), a coalition of sixteen NGOs led by the Ibn Khaldun Center is deploying a total of 5,000 observers to monitor the voting process for the Parliamentary Elections. ICEM is aimed at providing for the integrity and the credibility of the election process. In the third phase of the election, ICEM is deploying 1,300 observers to monitor the voting and counting procedures in 68 electoral districts where 254 candidates are contesting 127 seats.

PRE-ELECTION DAY ASSESSMENT

State security services and police have continued to arrest numerous Muslim Brotherhood and opposition supporters throughout Egypt in the last 48 hours. ICEM strongly believes that these mass arrests cast doubt on the credibility of government actions during the elections. The arrests also create an environment of fear in which voters feel far less secure in expressing their free will.

In 16 districts of the Dakahleya, Kafr ElShiekh, Qena, Aswan, and ElBahr ElAhmar governorates, Administrative Courts ruled during the last 48 hours that the third round of elections in all of these districts, held on December 1, should be re-conducted. In spite of these rulings, several of these 16 districts are holding run-offs today. ICEM believes that this confusion and the lack of a clear and uniform application of court rulings seriously undermine the integrity of the election process. 

ELECTION DAY MONITORING: THE OPENING OF THE POLLS

Observers Beaten, Arrested, and Denied Access to Polling Stations

The ICEM monitoring effort continues to be impeded by the authorities’ arbitrary decisions and actions. Despite continuous cases of obstruction, personal threats, and intimidation; ICEM observers are committed to seeing this mission through, fully confident of fulfilling a patriotic duty for the benefit of democracy in Egypt. 

 

 

The vast majority of the ICEM observers were denied access to polling stations to observe the opening of the polls. The authorities’ illegal actions in preventing observers to monitor these opening procedures continue to seriously undermine Egypt’s citizens’ rights to a transparent process.

The ICEM coordinator in Sohag governorate, Yusef Abdel Lattif, was beaten by security forces and his mobile phone was confiscated when he attempted to use it to photograph a violent conflict at the Senawaya Al Askaraya School polling center in the Bandar Sohag district.

ICEM observer, Samir Fadil, was arrested in Tali Al Haween village of Bandar Zagazig district in Sharkaya. In the same village, 5 ICEM observers were beaten by police while trying to pass through a police cordon which has closed off access to the entire village.

ICEM is appalled at the continued obstruction and harassment of its observers by security forces. These actions are in clear violation of the Egyptian courts’ ruling to allow independent observers the right to monitor elections, not to mention their human rights.

Reported Arrests of Opposition Candidate Poll-Watchers and Supporters

In addition to arrests made prior to Election Day, ICEM observers are reporting of systematic arrests of opposition party poll watchers and supporters at polling stations.

Such reports have been received in the Akhmine district of Sohag where 150 supporters of independent candidate Ahmed Raghib were arrested. In Bandar Sohag, 15 poll watchers of the independent candidate Mazen Abul Nour were arrested.

 In the Daqalaya governorate, systematic targeting of Muslim Brotherhood poll watchers and supporters has been reported in many districts including Nabrawa, Mansoura and Shaha.

10 Poll watchers of Al Wafd Party candidate Mahmoud Abaza were arrested in Al Taline district of Sharkaya.

In the same district of Sharkaya, candidate Mohamed Ahmed Abul Hag and several of his supporters were arrested.   

 Polling Centers Late in Opening

The vast majority of polling facilities observed by the ICEM observers did not open on time. The late openings continue to add to tensions and a generally chaotic environment at the polling centers as crowds of voters await the opening.

 
Disenfranchisement of Opposition Voters

ICEM observers continue to report on significant cases of police preventing opposition voters from accessing polling centers. Not only have opposition voters been denied access to polling stations, in some cases they have been prevented from coming within 300 meters of them, or not even allowed to pass police cordons closing off entire villages.

Such reports have been received from the Tira village in the Nabaroh district of Daqalaya, Abu Hariz village in the Kafr Sahr district of Sharqaya, the Ibrahimaya disctrict of Sharkaya, in Al Arish district of North Sinai, as well as the Bandar Domiate in Damitta and Al Deerat districts in Sohag.

Violence

There have been reports of violence in Atmida, Shaha, and Nabaroh districts of Daqalaya; in the Diarb and Ibrahimaya and Zakazik districts of Sharqaya; and the Bandar Sohag district of Sohag.

In many cases, violence has occurred as a result of voters being denied access to polling stations. Discontented protesters have gather in areas where police blockades have been created. Security forces have used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse these crowds. 

Campaigning

ICEM observers report fierce campaigning in the close vicinity of the polling centers by all party and independent candidates. Likewise, NDP, opposition, independent candidate supporters remain present at the majority of the polling facilities.

Independent Committee for
Election Monitoring
ICEM


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