• October 30, 2010

Regulations and restrictions for upcoming elections announced

Regulations and restrictions for upcoming elections announced

 Egypt’s Ministry of Information and the Supreme Electoral Commission have announced the guidelines regarding regulations for public media coverage in the electoral process of the parliamentary elections taking place on November 28 with the run-off to be held December 5.

The Supreme Electoral Commission adopted three resolutions for the upcoming elections.

The first resolution stipulates that a Justice representing the commission would be appointed in each governorate and any complaints regarding the polls would be submitted to him.

The second resolution which was adopted in April’s Shura Council elections, stressed that Egyptian civil society groups wanting to monitor the elections need to apply either to the Supreme Electoral Commission or the government-formed National Council for Human Rights.

The final resolution maintained that the commission adopted was its guarantee that all candidates have the right to freely campaign, including hosting private and public meetings.

According to opposition these decisions are always announced before every election, however the reality is always different. Sources have highlighted that the state throws its weight behind the National Democratic Party candidates as it uses its repressive instruments and the state’s resources.

One opposition official emphasized that it was his eighth campaign in 30 years and always the regime fails to deliver on its promises in terms of fairness and impartiality The Supreme Electoral Commission also pointed out that candidates using religious slogans could be stripped of their candidacy and it is clear that the Muslim Brotherhood candidates are the targeted with this ruling.

According to Nabil Abdel-Fattah from the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies the monitoring during the elections will be focused on the MB candidates and those that veer from the tacit understanding between the opposition and the state. He expressed that it was imperative that a truly independent body would oversee the elections.

During the midterm Shura elections held in June The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement had reported numerous violations where monitoring was also run by the Supreme Electoral Commission. In some instances candidate representatives were banned by force from the polling stations.

The Press Centre has reported that the Minister of Information Anas El-Fiqi released a statement asserting that the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) would submit its guidelines for the election coverage to the Supreme Electoral Commission. El-Fiqi had vowed that all candidates will have access to free airtime on local channels and opposition parties will be given free airtime on national channel. However, the live television broadcast equipment to be used by media on site at the polls would also need to be licensed. Additionally, the ERTU will establish a committee to monitor media coverage during the elections as a sort of watchdog to see that Supreme Electoral Commission directives regarding the media are conformed to.