First Published: 2005-09-07

 
Egypt vote monitors 'beaten, barred access'
 

Coalition of monitoring groups highlights number of problems faced by monitors trying to access polling stations.

 

Middle East Online

Why the harrassment?

CAIRO - Independent groups trying to monitor Egypt's landmark presidential vote on Wednesday charged that their representatives had been barred access to polling stations and even beaten up.

The electoral commission announced two hours after polling opened that independent monitors would be allowed to work inside polling stations, after opposition groups voiced fears of widespread fraud, rescinding a previous ban.

"Monitors, in most cases, are still not being allowed access inside the polling stations despite this morning's announcement by Mahmud Marai, chairman of the presidential electoral committee to the contrary," a coalition of monitoring groups said.

Monitors have been "beaten, apprehended and interrogated," especially in southern Egypt, the Independent Committee for Election Monitoring said in a preliminary report.

It also highlighted a number of problems with the vote, pointing out that the vast majority of voting stations were "not properly identified as polling centres" and that an estimated 20 percent of them were late opening.

"As of now, approximately 90 percent of the polling stations have campaign material supporting one of the candidates displayed outside," the committee said.

"The vast majority of this material is supporting the incumbent (Hosni) Mubarak, with a small minority representing Al-Ghad and Al-Wafd," the parties of Ayman Nur and Numan Gumaa respectively, it added.

AFP correspondents across Egypt also witnessed scores of supporters of Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party ostensibly campaigning in front of the polling stations as voters trickled in.

Egyptians for the first time have a choice of 10 candidates including Mubarak in a landmark presidential election which the government has hailed as a major step towards democracy.

Observers and opposition leaders have voiced their fears of widespread fraud by the NDP, and the country's judges -- tasked with supervising the polling process -- have already said they would not endorse the results.

The IECM claims to have 2,200 trained monitors deployed across the country.

 

Rouhani seizes opportunity to get closer to Qatar

New crown prince widely welcomed in Saudi Arabia

Banned Bahraini newspaper fires staff

Iraq forces battle deep into devastated Old Mosul

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

Mali activists call for referendum to be abandoned

Iraqi forces control two thirds of Mosul Old City

Assad leads Eid prayers in Syria’s Hama

Lone-wolf attacks raise concern about new trend in terror

Erdogan slams Saudi demands of Qatar as illegal

Sudan making 'positive' steps on meeting US sanctions terms

Mecca suicide bombing injures six

Gulf crisis heats up as Qatar receives list of demands

Suicide attacks kill at least three people in Mosul

Civilians killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

UN warns Yemen cholera outbreak could infect 300,000 by September

Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream pipeline

Berlin warns Ankara against meddling in religious affairs

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts