Observers report buying votes, other violations in Egypt's parliamentary election

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Oct 2015

The majority of complaints involved the buying of votes and voters being unable to cast ballots

Local observing organisations issued a report stating that the elections saw some violations mostly involving the buying of votes and voters being unable to cast ballots for various reasons.

The report came on Tuesday after Egyptians in 14 governorates cast their votes in the first phase of the parliamentary elections on Sunday and Monday.

The cabinet's control room, which was formed to observe the electoral process, said that during the second day they received 15 complaints and found 31 violations. The main violations include the arrest of two men who attempted to vote with IDs that did not belong to them, MENA reported.

Another violation involved a candidate's relative who was directing voters to cast their ballots for the candidate at a polling station in Upper Egypt's Luxor governorate. A police report was filed against the woman.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Women said it received 36 complaints throughout Sunday and until 4pm on Monday. The majority of complaints involved the distribution of money to voters to persuade them to vote for a specific candidate and that voting stations were too far away, as well as employers not giving time off for their workers to vote.

The two days of voting started at 9am to 9pm, with the government designating Monday a half-work day so that employees have the chance to cast their ballots.

Mohamed Abdel-Naem, the head of local NGO United Organisation for Human Rights, told MENA that some voters were not completely familiar with the voting protocols, which led to a number of invalid votes. Abdel-Naem added that the electoral programmes of the candidates were unclear.

Official election results will be announced by Thursday; however, media outlets and candidate representatives started announcing preliminary results as counted by judges supervising voting stations.

Egypt's parliament — the House of Representatives — ‎will be comprised of 596 members, 448 elected as independents ‎and 120 from party-based lists. The remaining 28 seats ‎will be filled by presidential appointees.

The second stage of the parliamentary elections, where Egypt's 13 other governorates will vote, will take place on 22-23 November, and 21-22 November for expatriates.

The country has been without a parliament since the previous house, elected in late 2011, was dissolved in June 2012 after a court ruled electoral laws unconstitutional.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi currently holds legislative powers.

Once a parliament is in place, its members will have to vote on the laws issued by El-Sisi and his predecessor, interim president Adly Mansour.

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