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SEC investigates violations in Egypt's constitution referendum

Supreme Electoral Commission to look into electoral violations registered by rights groups and their hotline during constitutional referendum; findings of report to be announced before poll results

Ahram Online, Monday 17 Dec 2012
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Counting the votes of the constitution referendum, 15 December (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) announced Monday it will start investigating electoral violations registered during the first stage of the constitutional referendum which took place across ten governorates on Saturday.

Judge Mohamed El-Tamboli, a member of SEC, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that the commission's hotline had received several complaints in addition to written ones submitted by various rights groups.

"The complaints vary from the lack of judges in some polling stations, the directing of voters to vote in a particular way and delays in some stations," added El-Tamboli.

El-Tamboli asserted that the commission will take an extensive look into the reports and will announce the findings by the time the results of the referendum are revealed.

On Sunday, rights groups held a press conference at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies to announce the violations that occurred during the voting process.

They urged Egypt's justice minister to form a delegation of judges to investigate the filed reports.

The press conference highlighted similar breaches of electoral law noted by the SEC.

They also complained that civil society workers were banned from entering polling stations and that members of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party were given permits to monitor the elections and direct citizens to vote "yes".

Meanwhile, the National Salvation Front, a coalition of opposition forces, called for mass protests on Tuesday to denounce "the numerous violations" occurring in the referendum.

On Saturday, ten of Egypt's governorates including Cairo and Alexandria voted on the constitution: preliminary results suggest 56.5 per cent voted 'Yes'.

The turnout however did not exceed 33 per cent of eligible voters.

The second phase of the referendum is scheduled to take place on 22 December.

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