EU signs memorandum with HPEC to monitor presidential elections
EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Catherine Ashton - AFP
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt James Moran and a representative of Egypt’s High Presidential Elections Committee (HPEC) signed a memorandum of understanding on Sunday to monitor Egypt’s presidential elections, scheduled to be held on May 26-27, according to Al Shorouk newspaper.

The memorandum comes following the visit of EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton to Egypt on Thursday, according to the EU’s statement released on the same day.

“EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy have agreed that the EU will deploy an EU Election Observation Mission for the upcoming Egyptian presidential elections, based on an invitation by the Egyptian Government,” said a statement by the Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

During her visit, Ashton also held talks with Interim President Adly Mansour, interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as well as the Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil al-Araby.

The agreement will allow “unhindered movement of observers throughout the country and access to all legal political interlocutors,” said the statement.

Further, Head of the NGOs Department at the Ministry of Social Solidarity, Khaled Sultan told Youm7 that the department received 59 applications from local and international NGOs requesting to monitor the presidential elections

Based on his sweeping popularity that has skyrocketed since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is strongly expected to lead the May 26-27 presidential elections.

Hamden Sabbahi, a leftist politician who came third in the 2012 presidential elections, is another declared contender whose popularity notably increased amongst activists and those who support a civilian president.

45 percent of the Egyptians are undecided regarding who they will vote for, while 51 percent said that they will vote for Al Sisi and 1 percent said their vote will go to Hamdeen Sabahi, according to a mid-March opinion poll conducted by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera).

The new president should be sworn in early June, but in case of run-off elections, the date will be pushed to mid-June.

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