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.

 

New government in Yemen plus cut in fuel prices

11 Egypt policemen killed in Sinai bomb blast

US army back in Somalia

Paris, Riyadh 'finalising' $3bn Lebanon arms deal

Sudan orders Iran to close cultural centres

Israel faces mounting criticism over Palestinian land grab

Saudi Arabia arrests 88 suspected extremists in 'anti-terror' drive

New UN chief for South Sudan faces ‘huge challenge’

US air strikes target senior Shebab officials in Somalia

‘Scourge of terrorism’ pushes Africa to intensify cooperation

Relatives of missing Iraq soldiers storm parliament in Baghdad

IS accused of 'systematic ethnic cleansing' in Iraq

UK announces tougher measures against Britons planning jihad

Algeria hosts new round of Mali peace talks

US launches new round of air strikes around Iraq dam

Turkey summons US charge d'affaires over Snowden claims

Turkey new PM promises peace with Kurds

Will UN Human Rights Council investigate IS abuses?

Iran convicts Ahmadinejad's vice president for embezzlement

Fierce clashes shatter uneasy calm near armistice line in Golan Heights

Turkey detains dozens of police in new nationwide raids

Libya loses control of Tripoli to Islamist-led militias

Thousands of Huthis defy UN in new show of strength

Iraq presses fightback against jihadist-led militants

Wounded Gazans need long-term care

Britain to go tougher on jihadist suspects

Libyan Islamist militiamen control US embassy compound

Israel shoots down drone over occupied Golan Heights

Yemen army suffers heavy losses in new wave of Qaeda attacks

Turkish army breaks silence on Kurdish peace talks

Islamic State offers grim inspiration to African extremists

Shebab target intelligence HQ in Somalia

Israel expropriates 988 acres of Palestinian land in West Bank

Iraq recaptures Amerli from Islamic State in biggest success so far

Saudi King calls for ‘strong and rapid action’ against jihadists

Jihadists distribute Yazidi women as spoils of war to fighters

Gulf countries resolve six-month dispute with Qatar

Egypt reduces Badie death sentence to life in prison

AU forces liberate former Shebab stronghold in Somalia

Philippines enters war in Syria!

Kurds put aside old rivalries to battle jihadists in Iraq

Iran says new sanctions cast doubt on US sincerity

US imposes new sanctions on Iran

US supplies arms to Lebanon to fight jihadists

Britain terror threat level raised to ‘severe’