The Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections Announces its Report on the Results of the Efforts of Monitoring the Referendum on the Constitutional Amendments

March 30th, 2011 by Editor

The Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections (ECME)[1] announced its report on the results of its efforts to monitor the voting process during the recent referendum on the constitutional amendment. This announcement took place today, Tuesday 29/3/2011, in a press conference which was held in the headquarters of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR). The report was entitled “the violations in the constitutional referendum and the threats to the future of democratic change in Egypt“. The report revealed a set of violations which occurred during the referendum process and some notes on these amendments from the perspectives of before and after the referendum. The report also included the recommendations. 

On his part, Mr. Hafez Abu Saeda, the Chairman of the EOHR and the General Coordinator of ECME, stated that the referendum has not been on the proposed constitutional amendments as much as it has been on the second article of the constitution which makes the results of the referendum short from expressing the real will of the people. He also pointed out that there were no electoral rolls which might be one of the fundamental reasons behind invalidating the referendum process.

Abu Saeda revealed that there have been many violations which occurred during the voting process of the referendum, the most important of which is influencing the will of the voters through using the weapon of religion which was evident in a number of stations. Also some of the civil society observers were banned from being present in the counting process. These violations also included the assault of Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, using paper ballot boxes, the lack of stamps from some voting ballots, the delay in opening a number of polling stations, the lack of curtains in some polling stations, the lack of phosphoric ink in some polling stations and its ineffectiveness in other polling stations, the arrest of activist lawyers Ragya Omran from in front of one of the referendum polling stations in the Court of South of Cairo and the incomplete judicial supervision. He emphasized that the only positive indication revealed by the referendum is the broad popular participation which is considered an important step on the way to democracy.

The Chairman of EOHR stressed on the importance of issuing legislation that organizes elections monitoring for civil society organizations in a way that guarantees that these organizations are able to monitor inside and outside the polling stations. Such legislation should also state that the counting process is public and should enable candidates, their deputies and civil society organizations to attend the counting of each box provided that counting takes place in the electoral stations. Also a copy of the counting roll should be submitted to candidates and their deputies and electoral lists should be prepared. The polling stations should be divided in a way that allocates 500 votes for each box instead of 1000 to ensure the validity of the electoral process and guarantee the complete judicial supervision. In addition to that, civil society organizations should be involved in democratic dialogue and the process of political and constitutional reform in Egypt. He finally pointed to the fact that these organizations, including EOHR, have many draft laws concerning political parties, civil society, political rights, combating corruption in electoral campaigns and other issues as well.

The Chairman of EOHR called for an investigation on the violations which occurred during the process of the referendum on the constitutional amendments and for declaring the findings of such investigation to the public opinion. He also stated that it is necessary to provide enough real guarantees to ensure the integrity of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections agreed upon by different political, political parties and societal forces. Also a constituent assembly has to be elected to draft a new constitution to protect the revolution of the 25th of January and its gains. This is to achieve a correct democratic transition in Egypt instead of a distorted transition which would send us backward towards tyranny and corruption.

On the other hand, Mr. Ahmad Samih, the Director of Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies clarified that the situation is different after the revolution concerning the electoral process and referendums. Still, there are concerns regarding on the future of the country. He pointed out that there is a state of “political darkness” which he fears would send us back to the pre-revolution phase which poses a threat to everyone.

Samih also added that there are many people who were not eligible to vote who did cast their votes anyway. According to him, this confirms the importance of preparing electoral rolls. He criticized the role the official media outlets played as it mobilized voters to vote yes on the constitutional amendments.

 


[1] ECME is made of 123 human rights and development organizations distributed through 26 governorates in the north and south of Egypt including the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) and Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies. EOHR is the general coordinator of ECME.

 



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