The African Union will send a mission to monitor the upcoming presidential elections, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, while the Arab League announced that its mission will monitor elections in over 22 governorates across Egypt.
The African Union observer mission will include more than 50 parliamentarians, journalists and civil society representatives from various African countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement by the Foreign Ministry Wednesday.
The mission will be headed by “a high level African personality,” Abdelatty added.
“The [African] Union has taken this important step in response to an invitation by the Egyptian government…” he said, adding that this step will be followed by other “positive steps towards restoring the Egyptian role within the framework of the African Union.”
In July, two days after the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi, the African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council suspended Egypt’s activities within the union. The decision was strongly criticised by the Egyptian government but the African Union has stood by it. In January, the African Union High-Level Panel for Egypt “affirmed the correctness” of its July decision.
Abdelatty said the decision to monitor the elections comes after “intensified efforts” by Egyptian diplomacy over the past few months and continuous communication with officials in the African Union Commission and African states through visits by Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy.
Fahmy recently met with African Union Peace Commissioner Smaïl Chergui and they discussed the roadmap Egypt is following, the country’s frozen membership in the union, and other issues.
Meanwhile, Head of the Arab League’s observer mission Haifa Abu Ghazaleh announced in a conference on Wednesday that its mission is made up of 100 observers, 60 of which will be monitoring the elections in more than 22 governorates. She added that the most important selection criteria is that they are not from Egypt.
The Arab League mission will be observing the voting of Egyptians abroad, for the first time, including in New York, Vienna, Berlin and Addis Ababa.
The African Union’s mission will observe the elections in several governorates across the country, the Foreign Ministry statement stated. The upcoming elections are slated to be held on 26 and 27 May and a second round, if required, will be held on 16 and 17 June.
Abdelatty said an “introductory delegation” will arrive in Egypt on 17 May and the rest of the mission will arrive on 20 May.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Electoral Commission approved a number of international and regional organisations to observe the elections.
In addition to the Arab League and African Union, the European Union is planning on monitoring the election, as per a memorandum of understanding signed with Egypt in April. The Arab Parliament, Community of Sahel-Saharan States, and nations belonging to the Common Market for East and South Africa will also observe the elections.