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Parliamentary elections observatory missions record illegal promotion campaigns, ‘voting bribes’ - Daily News Egypt

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Parliamentary elections observatory missions record illegal promotion campaigns, ‘voting bribes’

Political parties restricted by laws and lack of proper political vision, say reports


It is estimated that almost 10 candidates will compete for each seat during the parliamentary elections, according to an estimation by experts within the Parliamentary Elections’ Observatory (PEO) affiliated to the NGO Maat’s international-local joint mission.

In a report released Monday, the PEO covered the first 12 days of September, the time period that the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) announced was the period for candidates to apply. The SEC said that 5,936 candidates have applied so far.

The PEO stated that those numbers were low compared to previous parliamentary elections. It added that this was due to a variety of reasons, including elevated application fees of up to EGP 7,000, in addition to concerns over new court decisions that would further delay elections.

“Political parties also struggled to meet the requirements of closed-lists, in terms of proportional representation of different social categories,” the PEO added.

On a further note, the Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development (ECHRD), which combines six local NGOs, issued a report Monday. In the report, the ECHRD compared the number of candidates in 2015, which also takes into consideration a previous count in February, before elections were cancelled the first time.

Year September 2015 February 2015 2011 2010 2005
Candidates 5,936 6,792 5,181 4,686 7,000

 

“Ever since elections were announced the first time [in March], the political community has been confused, as if elections came as a surprise to them,” the ECHRD noted. “And although elections were postponed for six months, political parties still failed to settle on their final candidates.”

Meanwhile, the PEO said it also traced violations committed by political parties and independent politicians, as they resorted to distributing goods to citizens in an attempt to buy votes. The PEO also highlighted that there were advertisements, despite the legal period for electoral campaigns not having started yet.

Similarly, the ECHRD reported some of those violations, namely referring to the Salafist Al-Nour Party, which led a campaign in Alexandria to “freely distribute” the Hepatitis-C medication Sovaldi, which the ECHRD described as a “bribe for voters”.

While on one hand, the PEO said the SEC has done all it could within its power to remove advertisement posters, the ECHRD said that in the Al-Nour’s case, the SEC did not interfere, while it was the Health Ministry that forbade the party from distributing medicines.

The SEC is expected to announce all accepted candidates on Wednesday. The PEO report is based on observation of the activities and procedures of potential candidates in 164 electoral districts across 17 governorates.

 

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