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Violations marred 2010 parliamentary elections, says watchdog

Report on the 2010 parliamentary elections calls for a more transparent and legitimate electoral process

Ahram Online, Tuesday 11 Jan 2011
Egyptians form a line outside a closed polling station in Tanta, 140 km north of Cair (photo: Ap)
Views: 1763
Views: 1763

The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) says in its report, released yesterday, that an institutional lack of respect for the law was a major violation in last year’s parliamentary elections.

The NCHR’s report on the 2010 elections points out that 1,300 rulings were issued by various courts in the country to stop the elections from proceeding, or accept candidates who were rejected. Most of these were ignored thus marring the election process. Of the 300 final rulings, only 15 were implemented.
The report also recommended a revamp of the country’s electoral system to create a mix between the individual candidacy and slate systems. This, the council believes, best suits Egypt because it allows individuals to run without being a member of a party, but also allows parties to provide their own list of candidates.  According to the NCHR, the current individual candidacy system leads to a lot of the electoral violations and does not provide proper representation of female candidates and opposition parties.

The report also recommended reconfiguring the role of the Higher Electoral Committee (HEC) saying that it only entered the process after the electoral lists were announced and failed to solve the problems that erupted between different candidates. The report stressed the importance of giving the HEC more power and making adjustments to its structure to ensure a better performance in coming elections.

It was also suggested that the HEC's committee should include NCHR council members to ensure objectivity and should be headed by an independent member for a term of three to five years, or three leaders elected by parliament. The HEC's involvement, the report suggested, should carry on right through to the announcement of results.

Instead of just setting down the guidelines, the report recommends that the HEC take a more active role in setting up the electoral lists with the ministry of interior. They added that the HEC should also have the right to accept candidates, by deciding the documents needed, creating a subcommittee to examine the documents provided and have the power to rule on complaints provided by candidates.

The report is one of several released by various NGOs and human rights organizations following the skewed elections results. Like the others, it analyses the transparency of the elections during the two rounds on November 28 and December 5.

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