By Menan Khater, Mina Ibrahim and Sarah El-Sheikh
Independent observatories and operation rooms for voting committees monitored low turnout of voters on the first day of parliamentary elections, as well as violations by candidates and administrative mistakes, in addition to bomb explosions.
Gamal Barakat, director of operation rooms in governorates, told Daily News Egypt: “The turnout of voters was much lower than usual, but is expected to increase.”
Likewise, Ahmed Abdel Hafiz, head of the Egyptian Coalition to monitor elections, said: “There were minor violations, such as opening the committees late in the morning due to the delay of judges’ arrivals.”
However, this did not affect the electoral process, he added.
Moreover, the international observation mission from the Maat foundation said voter turnout is lower than average in all the constituencies covered by the mission’s observers, in a statement on Sunday.
The statement referred to the tight security measures in all the constituencies, emphasising the efforts undertaken by security forces to facilitate the voting process.
In the Fayoum governorate, a bomb was found and deactivated next to one of the polling stations.
In front of the same polling station, unknown assailants shot flares before they escaped and were pursued by security forces. The same incident was confirmed by the Egyptian Observer independent campaign, specialised in observing the elections in Egypt.
The campaign also referred to a number of violations committed by a number of candidates from different parties in several governorates.
In Qena, the Al-Nour Party made use of the megaphone in one of the mosques to campaign for its candidates. Meanwhile, in Giza, a candidate from the Free Egyptians Party (FEP) used cars to campaign for himself in front of the polling stations.
Furthermore, in Minya, a candidate distributed meat and blankets among the voters in front of a polling station.
Twenty-seven million voters have participated in the first stage in the 14 governorates, according to a report released by Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights’ (ECWR) official website.
The number of female candidate running for individual seats is 110 candidates out of a total of 2,573. Meanwhile, 100 female candidates from eight parties have participated in this stage from Upper Egypt and West Delta.
In some governorates, some polling stations delayed opening the polling stations on time, including third primary school that opened 9:30 am, in the Badrasheen electoral district in Giza governorate, Khalil Lamei Primary School in Abou Seer opened the polling station on 11:30 am, and Abdel Wahab Masoud School in Qena opened at 9:49 am.
Moreover, some administrative mistakes occurred in Alexandria at Burj Al-Arab, as one of the candidates’ number on the list was changed from 31 to 30 without being notified, due to the withdrawal of one of the candidates. She filed a complaint and the incident is currently pending investigation at the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC).