CAIRO: Head of Cairo Cassation Court and the Higher Electoral Commission judge Entisar Niseem announced Saturday that female judges and their counterparts in the administrative prosecution will participate in monitoring the upcoming Shoura Council elections slated for June.
According to the decision, female judges will be granted membership in the judicial committees that will oversee the elections.
At a press conference Saturday, Niseem also announced that the committee will allow Civil Society Associations to observe the processes of voting and counting.
“We’ve heard this before, in 2005 and in 2007. In Egypt, this happens on a very superficial level,” coordinator of the Kefaya Movement for Change Abdel-Halim Qandil told Daily News Egypt.
“Elections in Egypt will not benefit from appointing observers, even if these observers had descended from the sky,” said Qandil, adding that the whole course of election procedures in Egypt needs to change.
At voting and counting stations, observers will not be permitted to interfere with the responsibilities of the head of each polling station or its members, Niseem explained.
In line with the decisions of the electoral commission, observers will not be allowed to remark or inquire about any of the procedures to any of the station’s members and will not be allowed to carry out interviews or surveys to eliminate external influences.
“The essence of the process does not take place in the polling station; meddling with votes takes place behind closed doors,” said Qandil, comparing election procedures in Egypt to “cartoon scenarios.”
“Egyptians have little hope in the system. This could have worked in any other country.”
In collaboration with the National Council for Human Rights, the committee is currently accepting requests from Civil Society Associations which wish to take part in overseeing the elections.
Voting will take place in 67 of the 88 voting constituencies of the Shoura Council across Egypt, covering all governorates with the exception of Ismailia and the New Valley.
In 46 constituencies elections will be held for two seats in the council while in the remaining 21 constituencies it will be for only one seat.
“The problem is that the show-up for elections is generally low, especially for Shoura elections which are not as important as the People’s Assembly elections,” added Qandil.
In addition, the electoral commission raised the maximum election campaign budget to LE 200,000 from a previous LE 100,000. It also raised the same amount in case of a reelection from LE 50,000 to LE 100,000.The committee also called on local councils to ensure that candidates abide by the rules outlined for the campaigning process and to inform the electoral board of any breaches, maintaining that the board will take the necessary measures against them.