CAIRO: A coalition of 140 rights groups and NGOs in Egypt said on Monday they will be monitoring the November parliamentary elections in 26 governorates utilizing user interactive technologies.
The Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections (ECME) also threatened to file a lawsuit against the Supreme Electoral Commission if it was denied access to polling stations to monitor the process. The coalition has also put together a draft law for combating corruption in elections.
ECME is led by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and includes Al-Andalus Center for Tolerance Studies and Fighting Discrimination, the the Centre for Trade Union and Workers’ Services (CTUWS), and Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance.
The coalition said that it will be using advanced mobile technology to instantly transmit what occurs inside voting venues.
Head of EOHR Hafez Abou Saeda said in a press conference that monitors will be using their phones to instantly update the ECME website with text and video.
The website will be divided into constituencies to allow users to follow live updates from each electoral constituency.
The website transmissions will be classified according to constituency, so web users will be able to view what takes place in any constituency they desire to observe.
“We have around 1,000 monitors," said Saeda. “But we will assign phone numbers and electronic services for contributions from citizens or candidates and their deputies.”
Saeda told Daily News Egypt that the draft law the coalition intends to present to the Supreme Electoral Commission in a couple of days would covers criminalizing election briberies and exceeding the LE 200,000 campaigning limit set by the commission.
Saeda stated that he considers the limit is useless without regulations. “invaluable without regulations.”
One of the proposed articles requires candidates to set up a bank account for campaigning expenses to facilitate the monitoring process. Another article stipulates disqualifying candidates who exceed the limit.
Head of Al-Andalus Center for Tolerance Studies and Fighting Discrimination Ahmed Sameeh said that the coalition will work directly with the Supreme Electoral Commission without the mediation of the National Council of Human Rights (NCHR).
“NCHR’s mediation hinders the process,” said Sameeh, adding that the coalition expects the commission to stall in issuing permits for monitors or to issue and insufficient number of permits.
“We got a court ruling giving non-governmental organizations the right to supervise the elections process inside the constituencies,” said Sameeh, “We will file another lawsuit to get another court ruling.”
Coalition members criticized the Egyptian authority’s refusal to allow international bodies to supervise the elections as well.
“If the government [believes in] the credibility and transparency of the election process, why does it not allow international supervision? International supervision gives more credibility and legitimacy to the elections,” said CTUWS head Kamal Abbas.