Second day of voting closes in Egypt

30 November 2011

Relatively low number of voting violations, but some complaints of unfair practices reported

The second day of voting in Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections closed with minimal disruptions at the polls.

The Egyptian People’s Assembly elections went ahead in the major urban areas of Cairo and Alexandria, as well as Assuit, Luxor, Port Said, Kafr al-Sheikh, Damietta, Fayoum and Red Sea Governorates.

According to the Egyptian Coalition for Electoral Observation, the most serious problems witnessed at some polling stations were in connection to electoral bribes, unstamped ballots, thuggish acts and campaigning inside the polling centres.

The Al-Nour Party has submitted a formal complaint against the head of several polling stations for tampering with the votes. Minor violations were witnessed at other voting stations, such as the late opening of some stations and low participation in the voting in other stations. The interim government has said that those abstaining from the vote will face fines.

Aia Ahmed Hussein, a voter in 15 May City in Helwan governorate has alleged he was prevented from voting when officials wrongly asserted he had already voted. Once a citizen has voted, one of their fingers is stained with phosphoric ink to prevent multiple votes being cast by the same person. In some districts, the ink has not been used.

Nevertheless, the first phase of voting has been praised, both for the relatively low numbers of incidents and the overall high turnout seen in the elections so far.

This may not be the case in the second and third rounds of voting. Some Egyptians are predicting greater levels of violence when those living outside the country’s major metropolises go to the polls. “There will be blood when the rest of Upper Egypt votes,” warns a voter in Cairo, “Tribes will make conflict against each other.”

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