(CIHRS/IFEX) - November 13, 2010 - The Independent Coalition for Elections Observation* announced today the results of the first phase of monitoring the 2010 parliamentary electoral process. The facts show the absence of the Egyptian government's political will to run free and fair elections and create the necessary political environment for them.
Throughout the months preceding the parliamentary election on 28 November, the Egyptian government has resorted to a broad and escalating campaign to restrict public liberties, especially freedom of expression and citizens' rights to peacefully assemble, protest, strike and participate in the political process. This has created an environment of fear amongst media and independent voices critical of the government's performance, the opposition, and voices demanding democratic political reform.
The last period witnessed the closure of 12 TV channels, warnings against other channels, banning of political programs and the removal of their presenters, in addition to the dismissal of the chief editor of the most critical newspaper. The Egyptian security has also dealt with unjustified violence against protesters and strikers. Violence was used excessively against university students protesting the rigging of the student elections and university guards' presence in the universities' premises. Security authorities are continuing their arrest campaign against political activists affiliated with the opposition and reform movements. This is in addition to the ongoing restrictions on civil society and the continuation of the state of emergency.
The legislative environment regulating elections in Egypt violates the principle of equal opportunities between candidates and gives administrative and security authorities broad powers in directing and managing the electoral process. The law condenses the powers of the Supreme Electoral Commission so it has no power to call for elections, supervise electoral rolls, or monitor the candidate registration phase. It does not have an independent administrative body implementing its decisions and thus resorts to the executive body for implementation. In addition, the Commission has no accountability mechanism to hold liable those who violate its decisions. This is made possible through the legislative contradiction between law 18/2007 establishing the Supreme Electoral Commission and law 38/1972 with regards to the People's Assembly, which expands the powers of administrative authorities in administering the electoral process.
* The Independent Coalition for Elections' Observation includes three Human Rights Organizations: The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement (EACPE), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and Nazra Association for Feminist Studies (Nazra). The EACPE is concerned with field observation of all the stages of the electoral process, CIHRS is concerned with monitoring the visual and written media, and Nazra is concerned with monitoring gender and women voters and candidates on regular and quota seats.
Click below to download the full report:
Media-Monitoring-Program-2010.pdf (213 KB)