Elections in Egypt: real concerns for public safety and election fairness
Nine months after the unprecedented popular uprising that led former President Mubarak to step down, elections for a new parliament will commence on Monday, 28 November 2011, against a highly tense political backdrop with real concerns for public safety and election fairness, says International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
In late November, a few days ahead of the first election round, a large number of protesters reoccupied Tahrir Square in Cairo, and areas in other cities, to demand the transfer of power to civilian institutions. The harsh police response to these events resulted in the death of over 33 people and the injury of over 1700 others (see http://www.fidh.org/Egyptian-Police-disproportionate), bringing more people to the streets in a common stand against current military rule. After accepting the resignation of the interim government on 22 November, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced the formation of national salvation and the holding of presidential elections before the end of June 2012. This is very unlikely to satisfy Egyptian protesters.
The security situation on Egyptian streets remains uncertain, and police and military violence against protesters continues in Tahrir and other cities including Alexandria and Suez. In this climate, Egypt prepares to hold its first free parliamentary elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) wishes to raise several concerns about this situation. In particular it has serious concerns about the security of polling stations, including fears of violence and clashes which might disrupt the voting process, as well as concerns about the fairness and transparency of the elections, detailed below.
A complex electoral law Firstly, Egypt’s electoral law is complex and a lack of awareness campaigns for citizens may well impede their meaningful participation in the most important democratic process in Egyptian modern history.
50 political parties are running for Parliamentary election, comprising 590 lists and 6,591 individuals nationwide.