Canada is pressing Egypt’s interim rulers to overturn a ban on international monitors as the North African country prepares for parliamentary elections next month that will set the tone for democracy there and in the region. Egyptians will begin going to the polls on Nov. 28 to elect their first Parliament since a wave of protests ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in February.
The elections will be held in three stages lasting until March, with the winners coming together to draft the country’s first post-Mubarak constitution. A presidential election is expected in late 2012 or early 2013. A senior Foreign Affairs official told Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee on Tuesday the three-month parliamentary elections represent a critical period in Egypt’s transition to democracy and, “like the rest of the world, Canada is watching closely.
“The outcome in Egypt has the potential to affect the transitions underway in other countries,” said Barbara Martin, director general of the department’s Middle East bureau. “And the developments in Egypt over the coming months and years will shape the region and the world as we know it.
“It will be important to ensure that these elections are free and fair.”
The parliamentary elections will be supervised by Egypt’s judiciary and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military council that has been running Egypt for the past eight months, will allow domestic groups and informal international witnesses, Martin said.