Abdel Moez Ibrahim (Photo: Reuters)
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Abdel Moez Ibrahim, head of the Supreme Elections Commission, issued a handful of “clarifications” about the second round of Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary polls, which kicked off earlier the same day in nine of the country’s 27 governorates.
At the press conference, Ibrahim made the following assertions:
-All foreign ambassadors had the right to visit polling stations –not just the US ambassador, who reportedly paid a visit on Wednesday morning to a polling station in Cairo’s Dokki district.
-Egyptians who fail to cast a ballot without a valid excuse will be fined LE500 (roughly $90).
-Certain parties – Ibrahim did not specify which ones – continue to distribute campaign flyers outside polling stations. The practice, the SEC chairman said, had represented one of the most common types of electoral violation during first-round polling late last month.
-When asked about the SEC’s recent decision to form a special committee to visit detained activist Alaa Abdel-Fatah in prison following a court ruling acknowledging his right to vote, Ibrahim stressed that police – not the SEC – would be “solely responsible” for implementing the ruling.
-Ibrahim vehemently denied that blind voters had been prevented from casting ballots. The law provides clear procedures as to how blind people can vote, he said, stressing that these procedures had been “meticulously implemented” at polling stations countrywide.
-Ibrahim conceded that some vote-counting committees were sub-standard and needed to be “revamped.”
-He also called on the local media to promptly refute false allegations and rumours, including false news that certain candidates had recently died.
-Ibrahim concluded the press conference by noting that the second round of polling represented a “step towards democracy.”
The second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections is slated to end on Thursday.