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.

 

Kerry seeks to allay Gulf states’ fears on Iran

Assad likens himself to Superman

Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

Turkey will not take part in Iraq offensive to retake Mosul

Dubai launches first 3D pavement art festival

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen freed

Mali rebel groups urged to sign peace deal

At least 34 dead in Syria rebel attack on intel HQ

Libya declares force majeure at 11 oil fields

Iran’s regional influence ‘not negiotiable’

Women protest for peace ahead of Israel election

Concerns rise over civilians’ safety in Iraq military operation

UN invites Libya leaders for crisis talks in Algeria

Israel to double water quota to Gaza ‘within days’

Abbas: Palestinians ready to talk with "whoever" wins Israel election

Fire at Cairo convention centre injures 19 people

US, Iran wrap up three days of intense nuclear negotiations

EU reviews policy in response to Ukraine, Arab Spring

IAEA delegation to hold talks in Tehran on March 9

Tunisia rescues 86 African migrants at sea

Saudi executing at 'unprecedented' pace

Turkish Airlines plane skids off Nepal runway

British former marine 'killed' in Syria

Iran slams boring Netanyahu's continuous lie-spreading in US speech

'Saudi prince' New York apartment on sale for $48.5m

Libyan militants take control of two oil fields

Washington lauds Iran's role in Iraq

Netanyahu warns Congress: Nuclear deal will free Iran to develop weapons

Bottle of juice vs. outspoken critic of Israel domestic policies

UN approves sanctions regime for South Sudan

Arab states to mull creation of joint force against ‘Islamic State’

Libya tit-for-tat airstrikes target airport, oil terminal

Iran holds memorial service for ‘Afghan volunteers’ killed in Syria

South Sudan general accused of abducting child soldiers

Netanyahu takes fight over Iran nuclear ambitions to Congress

UN delegation meets Aleppo governor to push ‘freeze’ plan

Yemen leader proposes reconciliation talks to be moved to Saudi

Jihadists use urban warfare to slow Tirkit adavance

Libya warplanes strike militia-controlled airport

Egypt court cancels call for parliamentary elections in March

Saudi diplomat kidnapped by Qaeda in Yemen released

South Sudan's oil wells pose environmental hazard

Obama lashes out at Netanyahu over Iran

Tunisia blogger jailed for 6 months for defaming army

US controlling ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels