Egypt elections body issues conditions for NGO observation status

Ahram Online , Thursday 18 Dec 2014

Egypt's Higher Elections Committee says door will be open to international NGOs to apply to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections soon

A woman casts her ballot in the final stage of a referendum on Egypt
A woman casts her ballot in the final stage of a referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo, January 15, 2014 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egypt's Higher Elections Committee (HEC) issued on Thursday requirements for granting foreign NGOs licenses to observe parliamentary elections set for 2015.

The judicial body's decision stipulates that the NGOs must have a reputation of neutrality and balance, a specialisation in elections monitoring, a commitment to supporting democracy and human rights and observation experience.

The window for applications will be announced soon, according to Judge Medhat Idris, the HEC's spokesman.

A recent NGO draft law was received controversially among many Egyptian and international organisations, who accused the law of imposing harsh restrictions on civil society in Egypt.

This past October, US democracy watchdog the, Carter Center – led by former US president Jimmy Carter – closed its Cairo offices, citing restrictive measures and "an overall anti-democratic environment." While the Carter Center has observed numerous Egyptian elections in the past, it will not be observing the upcoming parliamentary elections.

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