Egypt's PEC rejects candidate's complaints against vote extension

Ahram Online, Tuesday 27 May 2014

The Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) says extending election to a third day was in response to popular wishes and that it cannot obey desires of candidates

presidential election
An Egyptian woman registers her name at a polling center during the second day of voting in the presidential election as an army solider stands guard, in Cairo (Photo: AP)

Egypt's electoral committee has rejected legal complaints lodged by the election's two contenders against its decision to extend the country's presidential vote to a third day.

The Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) announced on Tuesday night that polling would be extended until Wednesday. The two-day vote was originally scheduled to conclude on Tuesday but was lengthened in response to calls by "large swaths of the people" that were not able to cast their ballots during scheduled hours, a statement by the PEC said.

"We do not abide by the desires of the candidates. We are following the popular wishes," the PEC's secretary Abdel-Aziz Salman told private satellite TV channel CBC. Salman said that "two representative of a popular delegation" came to the committee's headquarters to request more opportunities to vote.

The teams of both presidential contenders, former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, have expressed their opposition to the decision.

Sabahi's campaign said in a statement the extension was a bid to "interfere with the figures of the election turnout and voting," citing violations and irregularities identified by its team members across polling stations nationwide.

The legal advisor of El-Sisi's official campaign, Mohamed Abu Shaqqa, said in TV comments that they had rejected the decision, arguing that adding an extra day would be "tiring for both the voters and the [presiding judges."

"The PEC should have simply extended voting hours on Tuesday until the last person in line casts his ballot," Shaqqa said.

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