NDP officials deny rampant violence and thuggery

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 28 Nov 2010

Senior NDP officials strongly deny that yesterday’s vote was marred by widespread acts of thuggery and violence

ballot boxes
Police officers carry ballot boxes to a counting center, after polls closed at Mahalla El Kubra, north of Cairo (photo: Reuters)

Senior officials of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) are asserting firmly that today’s election was transparent and marked with integrity. They also strongly denied that violence and thuggery was widespread. NDP Secretary-General Safwat El-Sherif launched an indirect attack on the candidates and supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, arguing that they are doing everything possible to spread a negative and false image about the vote. “I asked NDP candidates and supporters not to be provoked by the malicious attempts of this outlawed group,” said El-Sherif, adding that, “The NDP has done its best to ensure that the voting is clean and free from any irregularities.”  

El-Sherif denied that NDP candidates or supporters were involved in any acts of violence.  
El-Sherif also launched a scathing attack against foreign media covering the elections. “Most foreign TV channels are primarily interested in manipulating facts and covering one side of what is happening,” said El-Sherif, indicating that, “These channels are generally biased and embarked upon holding interviews with certain political figures to convey a misleading view of the voting process.”
Joining forces with El-Sherif, the NDP’s website (ndp.org.eg) accused BBC Arabic of disseminating “false information about the voting”. The NDP’s website alleged that most of the coverage of BBC Arabic was biased, “refraining from relaying the real facts about the voting process.” “A case in point is that this channel cited Nehad Abul-Qomsan, a civil society activist, as alleging that she was prevented from entering polling stations to monitor the voting, and we assure that this has never happened and that all licensed civil society monitors are freely allowed to observe the polls,” the website said.

Speaker of the People’s Assembly Fathi Sorour — another NDP senior official and its candidate in Cairo’s Sayeda Zeinab district — also said that voting was running smoothly in most districts. “It is sorrowful that most foreign media channels allege that irregularities and rigging practices are rampant,” said Sorour, adding: “I really wonder why such foreign media channels insist on painting such a false picture of the voting process.” Sorour stated that, “During my tour in Sayeda Zeinab and other districts, I saw with my own eyes that voting is running smoothly and that the candidates of all political parties and their representatives have free access to all polling stations and without any obstacles.”
Sorour said he expects that the ruling NDP will achieve a landslide victory. “The NDP has prepared well for this election and has selected candidates with good reputations and a proven record of achievements, and this is why I expected that the party will retain its majority in the coming parliament,” Sorour said.  
In Sorour’s words “as you all know, the coming parliament is very important because it will play a big role in selecting the presidential candidate in next year’s election.” Sorour asserted that, “The local civil society monitors are quite enough to ensure effective supervising of the polls, and Egypt does not accept any form of international monitoring because it is a flagrant form of meddling in its own internal affairs.”

Alieddin Hilal, the NDP’s secretary for media affairs, also underlined that “most of the information which the NDP’s central operations room in Cairo has received from all over Egypt about the voting emphasise that violent acts are very marginal and are by no means effective to cast a pall of gloom over the entire picture of the voting.”  

In Hilal’s words “we have received just one or two reports showing that some clashes have erupted between rival candidates in the Delta governorates, but the entire picture shows that everything is running well and that citizens are exercising their right of voting in an easy way.”

For its part, the Higher Elections Commission (HEC) indicated that the total number of candidates competing in today’s election dropped from 5064 to 5033. Sameh El-Kashef, the HEC’s spokesman, indicated that, “the total of 5033 includes 378 women competing in women’s quota districts.” “Out of the total, 1331 candidates belong to 19 political parties and 3702 candidates are running independently,” said El-Kashef.  

El-Kashef added: “The HEC received reports from several Nile Delta governorates, especially Gharbiya, Daqahliyya and Sharqiya, showing that there is an exchange of fire between candidates, but the general situation shows that the voting is going smoothly without significant problems.”

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