Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections ECME Announce Four Reports on the Evaluation of the Registration of Candidates Phase and Elections Campaigns
November 22nd, 2010 by Editor
Representatives of the Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections ECME expressed their deep concern over the decisions of the Supreme Commission for Elections SCE on the monitoring of civil society organizations to the electoral process. Those decisions amounted to the confiscation of local monitoring of elections through putting conditions and barriers that limit the work and activity of the observers inside polling stations. Members organizations of ECME threatened to withdraw from monitoring the coming elections, as well as other coalitions, in case that SCE didn’t respond positively to the demands presented by civil society organization concerned with monitoring elections.
ECME stressed on the importance of applying the provisions of the Administrative Judiciary rulings with regard to respect the provisions of appeals related to election and nomination cases, in addition to monitoring the expenditure on propaganda of the candidates. This process came in light of the increasing volume of expenditure on election campaigning which went far beyond the limit put down by the Supreme Commission for Elections which set the spending limit at a rate of 200,000 Egyptian pounds. SCE has the right to cancel the nomination of the a candidate if he or she exceeds the limit of spending during the election campaign.
ECME stressed also on the importance of passing a legislation governing the monitoring work of civil society organizations during the electoral process inside and outside the polling stations, and during the vote-counting process, without facing difficulties. Civil society organizations should also enjoy the right to monitor violations and to issue complaints. These complaints should be viewed by an independent commission to decide on these violations.
These recommendations came at the conclusion of the foruth press conference held today, Monday, November 22, 2010 at the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights premises. ECME is a coalition of 123 human rights organizations and associations and spread over 26 governorates in northern and southern Egypt.
The press conference was paneled by Mr. Hafez Abu Saada, chairman of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Mrs. Nihad Abu Elkomsan, director of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, Mr. Kamal Abbas, the director of Center for Trade Union & Workers Services, and Mr. Ahmad Samih, director of the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies.
ECME represented 4 reports during the press conference; first report on the field observation of the electoral process and what violations candidates faced. the second reprot on the status of quota of women in elections. The third on media monitoring of elections and during the appeals stage and the first week of the electoral campaign. The fourth report was on the follow-up phase of the electoral propaganda.
The first report “the registration and electoral propaganda phase …. multiple violations and doubts threaten the integrity” shed light on violations monitored and documented by EOHR during the registration process to exclude a number of candidates, as well as violations of publicity and media freedom and freedom of opinion and expression.
The report dealt with the analytical reading of the numbers of candidates of the coming round of the parliament, which amounted, according to the Supreme Comission for Elections, to 5181 candidates, including 4801 candidate on regular seats, and 380 candidates for the seats reserved for women in order to compete for 508 seats including 64 seats for women. These figures show many problems such as the growing number of independent candidates to reach more than four times the candidates belonging to political parties, which demonstrates to us the weakness afflicting Egyptian political parties. The second issue is that the National Democratic Party is running the elections with 800 candidate to compete for 508 seats, which means that NDP is competing with itself on the same seats.
The report also tackled the violations took place during the registration period of candidates and election campaigns, committed by the Ministry of Interior during the electoral process. National Democratic Party attempted to deny candidates who defected from the party of their right to run the elections as independents, knowing that this right is enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution, in Article 62. There were other violations also such as the confiscation of registration cards and identity cards for these candidates, and increasing violence during the stages of the electoral process which resulted in the deaths of 4 people and injured nearly 30 citizens.
The report concluded with a number of recommendations, such as the need for a legal text that gives the Electoral Commission the right to monitor the campaigns expenditure, advertising and the putting all candidates under supervision of the Central Auditing Agency. There was also the need to separate between state institutions and the ruling party to prevent the use of public funds of the buildings, installations and means of transport of private institutions, government agencies, factories during the electoral process. Another recommendation was the need to take legal action against those found doing the exploitation of his governmental position before and during the elections, and providing equal opportunities between the candidates, both with regard to using state-owned media and the use of all forms of advertising possible and non-interference by the security agencies to curb any of the candidates. SCE should cancel the restrictions on the work of civil society, and allow each representatives of organizations to work freely.
The report highlights the need to develop a mechanism for the control of the electoral campaigns in support of equal opportunities among candidates and to promote and support the idea of political participation among various sectors of citizens, considering this participation as one of main basis for democracy. This will be fulfilled through the intensification of political awareness programs for citizens either through the organization of seminars, panel discussions, or TV programs addressing the same goal.
While the second report was on ” Egyptian women in the parliamentary elections in 2010: most of political parties satisfy with nominate women on Quota, protests swept NDP’s members and the rest of political parties” to discuss the problem of political representation of Egyptian women in parliament , political parties, the government and power as main problems which faced the development of the Egyptian system and Egyptian political institutions since the revolution of July 1952.despite the fact that Egypt was the first Arab countries that granted women full political rights, whether through the nomination or election, the indicators of women’s political representation is still very weak, there are only 8 seats in parliament out of 454 seats, 3 of them came through the election, while 5 through appointment by the president and therefore the level of female representation reached approximately 2.3%.
The report presented several notes on Quota’s seats in various governorates : these notes are as follows:
the political parties’ satisfaction with nominating women on Quota’s lists and not nominating them on public constituencies except for 3 constituencies for NDP.
Several violations were committed against women and impeded their nomination during the period of candidacy.
Practicing the policy of separating candidates.
Preventing women candidates to use communications means and closing poll stations’ doors in various governorates that receive nomination papers before the appointment determined by the ministry of interior to miss the chance for all candidates and delaying the electoral symbols which led to the delay in the election campaign for women candidates.
The security forces controlled poll stations since the beginning of nomination.
In Alexandria, Muslim Brotherhood used mosques to issue statements to nominate Boshra Al Sony, Muslim brotherhood’s candidate, and refused other candidates, those who nominate other candidates will be prevented from mosques’ grants and became disbeliev.
The third report covered the media monitoring for elections in the challenge stage and the first week of electoral campaigns”, through the analysis of ten programs dealt with the challenge stage and the first week of the election campaigns. The report presents a set of notes as follows:
The non- compliance with the supreme administrative Court on giving equal time to all candidates representatives of political parties and various sectors.
The report also sheds light on NDP’s occupation for the large space in covering all programs and channels.
The mixing between the position of president Mubarak as the president of the republic and the president of the NDP considering his promises of elections impartiality for the sake of NDP in media coverage.
The report recommended the necessary to abide by judiciary decisions on equality of opportunity or giving opportunity to media to play its role in monitoring on the electoral process and the necessary to abide by impartial and professional standards and freedom of opinion and expression.
The fourth report on monitoring electoral campaigns dealt with several violations for the decision of the Supreme commission for elections related to the beginning of electoral campaigns before announcing on the final lists for candidates and this was clear in upper Egypt governorates, besides the electoral bribes, and the increase of expenditure on electoral campaigns even more than specified by the Supreme Commission for Elections through the distribution of giveaways by some candidates on the constituencies for getting their votes in the elections.
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