EU electoral mission's statement on Egypt’s presidential poll

Ahram Online, Tuesday 3 Jun 2014

Egypt's 2014 presidential election went smoothly, says the EU's monitoring commission, but there were several violations, notably limits on dissent

An Egyptian woman casts her ballot
An Egyptian woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Cairo (Photo: Bassam El-Zoghby)

A statement from the European Union commission on Egypt’s presidential election last week has described the process as being overall smooth, while naming an atmosphere that was repressive of dissent.

"While the new constitution sets out a wide-ranging catalogue of fundamental rights, the respect for these rights falls short of these constitutional principles. Freedoms of association, assembly and expression are areas of concern, including in the context of this election," the EU statement read.

The report pointed out that the administrative decisions of Egypt's Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) were immune to appeals.

It also pointed out that there was limited space for opposing voices and the activities of civil society and that the authorities used excessive force with opposition protests.

Campaign financing was another issue the report tackled, saying there was "insufficient regulation of campaign finance". Third parties contributed beyond the spending limits set by the PEC, especially in favour of president-elect Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and not his sole contender, the leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.

While public media provided equal coverage to both candidates, the EU mission said, private media gave twice as much time to El-Sisi.

The report also said that there was a climate of limited freedom of expression and that self-censorship of journalists had been reported.

The report further stated that while the PEC administered the election in accordance with the law, its last minute decision to extend the voting process an extra day and to apply a fine for those who did not vote "caused unnecessary uncertainty in the electoral process".

“Election days proceeded in a peaceful and calm manner across the governorates overall. Following three days of voting, the PEC informed the EU EOM (Election Observation Mission) that voter turnout was at 47.3 percent at the time of writing. The voting and counting process was orderly and well organised in most of polling stations and District Committees observed, with only minor procedural problems and a limited number of violations noted by the EU EOM observers," the report stated.

The full EU EOM report can be found here.

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