CAIRO: Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi‘s electoral campaign plans to file a complaint to the Presidential Electoral Commission (PEC) to report violations that occurred during petitioning for candidates at notary offices, head of the legal affairs unit Hamed Gabr told Youm7 Wednesday.
The complaints will also be filed with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice, Gabr said. Members of Sabbahi’s electoral campaign were attacked by Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi supporters to prevent them from campaigning or documenting “violations,” the campaign said in a statement on Facebook Wednesday.
Complaints include buses belonging to state corporations and agencies seen transporting citizens to sign petitions for Sisi, and some petitions being signed with the ID cards of citizens who were not present at notary offices, according to the statement.
Also, some notary offices displayed pictures of Sisi inside, the statement said.
Sabbahi’s campaign posted dozens of other alleged violations with full details on the people involved, locations, and the time since notary offices began accepting petitions on March 31.
Campaign director Hossam Mones wrote on Facebook Tuesday that the numbers of petitions for presidential candidates are “not indicative when you compare the potential provided by the state for one of the candidates,” referring to Sisi, “while Sabbahi’s campaign relies on its potential and is confronted by attempts to obstruct its efforts and shatter the ambitions of its members and supporters.”
Sabbahi condemned the violations he said occurred in a Wednesday statement on the campaign’s Facebook page.
“We have closely been following clear and frequent violations in the past two days regarding the impartiality of officials at notary offices… this threatens the earnestness of the electoral process and has state bodies and institutions party to support one candidate against another,” Sabbahi said.
Sabbahi also called on the Ministry of Interior to secure notary offices to facilitate the signing of petitions.
Three of Sabbahi’s electoral campaign members were arrested at Mansoura University Tuesday under the pretext of participating in a Muslim Brotherhood protest, the campaign said in a Facebook statement Wednesday.
Sabbahi previously expressed “concerns over possible state bias” in an interview with The Cairo Post earlier in March. He said this “possible bias” could be concealed by the judicial immunity that was granted to the Supreme Electoral Committee by the presidential elections law issued on March 8 amid controversy.
Sisi announced his presidential candidacy in a speech broadcast on state television on March 26. The televised speech was followed by a short report on Sisi, as well as a report on Sabbahi. Sabbahi had announced his intent to run for president in February.
Mones, Sabbahi’s campaign director, praised the broadcasting of the report on Sabbahi, although he wrote on Twitter that it disregarded Sabbahi’s “central role in fighting the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The PEC announced March 30 that the first round of presidential elections will be held May 26 and 27, and May 5 for Egyptians living abroad.