The head of the panel that drafted Egypt’s 2014 constitution, possibly the most progressive in the country’s history, denounced calls to amend the charter on Saturday, saying in a carefully-worded statement that parliament should focus instead on implementing it. Amr Moussa, a respected statesman and a former foreign minister and Arab league chief, was apparently responding to calls by some lawmakers to extend by two years the four-year term the president serves in office. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has less than one year left in his first term. He has yet to say whether he is running for a second term, but he is widely expected to do so in June 2018. The constitution stipulates the president can only serve two terms. The relevant clause cannot be amended unless the change “brings more guarantees,” according to the constitution. Moreover, any amendment must be approved in a nationwide referendum before it comes into force.
Articles about voting issues in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Egypt has just completed the second and final round of parliamentary elections, including runoffs. It is, unfortunately, a legislature of, by, and for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. For example, every single one of the sixty winners of the runoff on the party list competition was from “for Love of Egypt,” the vehemently pro-Sisi coalition. 6.2 million voters took part in runoff elections of the 2d round. Certainly, turnout in Egyptian elections has dropped precipitously. In 2011, the last parliamentary poll drew 62 percent of the registered voters. For the second round’s runoff, d turnout was under 22%. Looking at the exclusion of candidates, these elections were undemocratic.
Egypt wrapped up Wednesday a legislative election that spanned over six weeks but failed to mobilise a high turnout for a parliament expected to firmly back President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s iron-fisted policies. The election was marred by apathy in the absence of any opposition after Sisi crushed all forms of dissent since ousting his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Polling in a run-off for the second phase of voting in 13 of the country’s 27 provinces closed at 9:00 pm (0700 GMT), bringing an end to a weeks-long marathon electoral process.
Two election judges and two police officers were killed Tuesday in a suicide attack at a North Sinai hotel where officials monitoring the second phase of Egypt’s parliamentary polls were staying, the Egyptian army and Justice Ministry said. One slain judge held the position of deputy head of the country’s administrate system while the other was the deputy of the general prosecutor, according to the Justice Ministry. Two policemen were killed and at least 12 people injured in the attack, which targeted the Swiss Inn hotel in the North Sinai capital of Arish, according to a statement published by the Egyptian Armed Forces on the army spokesperson’s official Facebook page. Police, army troops and civilians were among those injured, the statement read.
Vote-buying and other misuses of campaign funds accounted for most violations of election rules during the second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, according to various bodies responsible for observing the poll. Observers highlighted several types of infringement related to the use of political funds by candidates over the two-day voting period. These included the distribution of money bribes, food and drinks, posters and flyers, as well as the use of microbuses to advertise the candidates and transfer voters. Children were also seen wearing campaign t-shirts outside polling stations. Mohamed El-Shentnawy, manager of the parliamentary observatory mission led by the Maat foundation, told Daily News Egypt: “The candidates were well prepared for this round. They avoided repeating the mistakes of the first round, and used creative methods of bribery which resulted in the improved turnout of 17% in this round, compared with around 11% to 12% in the first round.”
Despite a half-day off the Egyptian government granted its employees on Monday, a low voter turnout continued to plague the country’s parliamentary elections on the final day of the second stage in the balloting. Egypt has not had a parliament since a court ruling dissolved its Islamist-dominated legislature in 2012. The elections come against a backdrop of growing security and economic concerns following the crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that killed all 224 people on board last month. Russia has said that a bomb had downed the plane and a local Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attack, dealing a severe blow to Egypt’s vital tourism sector.
Egypt: Low turnout as Egyptians vote in parliamentary elections amid fears over terror, economy | Associated Press
Egyptians trickled into mostly empty polling centers as they voted Sunday in the second stage of parliamentary elections that will produce the country’s first legislature since a chamber dominated by Islamists was dissolved by a court ruling in 2012. Tens of thousands of troops and policemen were deployed to safeguard the two-day vote, reflecting growing security concerns less than a month after a Russian airliner crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. Russia has said the crash was caused by an onboard bomb, and a local Islamic State affiliate claimed the Oct. 31 attack. The attack led Russia to suspend flights to and from Egypt and Britain to cancel routes to the popular Sharm el-Sheikh resort, where the flight originated, dealing a major blow to Egypt’s tourism industry, which was already hurting from years of unrest.
On Oct. 24, Mostafa Abdelrahman stepped out of his home in al-Arish, the sandswept capital of Egypt’s North Sinai province. Within seconds, two men pulled up on a motorcycle and shot him dead. His campaign for parliament was over. The same day, five other candidates pulled out of the race. Abdelrahman’s death highlights the dangers of holding elections in a region where the Egyptian military is fighting militants affiliated to Islamic State who have killed hundreds of soldiers and police in the past two years. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi presents the vote as the last step towards restoring democracy, two years after he ousted Egypt’s first freely-elected president, Islamist Mohamed Mursi.
With a high turnout of women voters in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the fact remains that the number of women candidates is relatively low in a field already stacked with political hurdles against female hopefuls. “I wish there was a woman candidate in my constituency, but all the candidates were men,” said Noha, a 35-year-old woman who cast her ballot in Giza during the first stage of the elections, which took off on 17 October and its run-offs on 27 and 28 of the same month. Wafaa Ashrey, the first female candidate yet to submit her papers in the Upper Egyptian city of Aswan, was unable to secure a seat in the first stage, said that “there was a great decline in women running in my constituency due to their fear of failure and the experience as a whole.”
Egypt will soon complete the first round of parliamentary elections, including runoffs. Looking at the exclusion of candidates, these elections were undemocratic. Awakening U.S. Government critics is particularly likely looking at the State Department’s annual human rights report. At the start of this year, that report addressed last year’s 2014 election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and said that the context was “not conducive to genuine democratic elections” and that “limits on the freedom of expression and assembly ‘impaired’ the process.” Similar criticism of the current 2015 parliamentary elections is likely to come from U.S. Government critics. Besides the State Department, another center of observation of Egyptian affairs has been in the U.S. Senate, particularly Senator Patrick Leahy, senior Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees aid funds to Egypt. Senator Leahy, voicing concerns similar to those quoted below, said to Forbes.com on November 9th that “free and fair elections are about far more than casting ballots. Just as important is the ability of opposition parties to organize and candidates to participate without interference in the months and weeks leading up to election day. Egypt today, where political parties are banned and their leaders imprisoned, makes a mockery of the most fundamental principles of democracy.”