- October 22, 2008
Rights Organization Requests Accurate Explanation Of “Fake” Student Elections
In a statement issued Monday, October 20, the Academic Program of the Freedom of Thought And Expression Institute condemned the gross violations that spoiled student elections this year across the different Egyptian universities especially following the last amendments to the university charter issued last year.
The statement described the student elections as “fake” and “a mockery” requesting a serious pause on the violations committed by the security before they double in the future.
The statement also mentioned that this year”s student elections disappointed observers who believed that this was the worst level elections could reach adding that the measures taken during the election process were a precedent in security intervention and administrative control over students” will.
The institute explained that the last amendments were what aggravated the situation as they stipulated payment of college fees for participation in elections. Hence, participation rate was lower than usual; probably also because of the refraining of political currents from elections which added to the silence of the whole process. Even the few who were nominated from political currents were either crossed out from the final lists because “they had no previous extra-curricular experience” or their nomination forms were refused in the first place.
The statement explained that the cover-up on elections was mainly intentional as shown in their postponement of announcing the election date to October 5 which was the day between two breaks (most students had taken it off). Even the few flyers that had been posted were in unnoticeable places. In addition, nomination doors were opened for six hours only on October 7, the day immediately following the second break. Moreover, to avoid facing protests, the administration delayed announcement of the results and final list of candidates to the end of the day when most students had already finished classes and left.
The statement added that another reason for the cover-up was election organizers” lack of awareness and clear understanding of the amendments, especially as they had received the administrative and financial charters late pointing out that they seemed to be nervous and refused to give out any information regarding election procedures.
“There may have been conflicting reports on the rates of participation (in elections) and number of faculties from which representatives were appointed and others which witnessed real competition. But this conflicting information is one of the administration”s ways to cover-up on the events that took place,” the statement said.
The institute, thus, called for the disclosure of accurate information regarding the proceedings of the closed meetings held during the elections and participation rates as it is the people”s right in general and students” right in particular to understand how their representatives are chosen.