CAIRO: The decision issued late Tuesday by the High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) to extend the presidential election to Wednesday harms the credibility of the political process, U.S-based Democracy International (DI) Election Observation Mission said in a Wednesday statement.
It added that the decision, “raises more questions about the independence of the election commission, the impartiality of the government, and the integrity of Egypt’s electoral process.”
There were no obstacles to voting reported during the past two days by the mission that would require an additional day, explained the DI in the statement.
“The DI’s mission has 86 accredited international observers distributed across 25 governorates to monitor the presidential election 2014,” said the Director of the DI’s Elections Processes, Dan Murphy to The Cairo Post Monday.
The HPEC extended Tuesday the presidential voting to a third day to give non-local voters a chance to cast their vote.
“Last-minute decisions about important election procedures, such a decision to extend polling by an additional day, should be made only in extraordinary circumstances,” said Eric Bjornlund, president of Democracy International.
In the same statement, the short-term observers of the DI’s mission will return to Cairo on Wednesday as previously planned, while the core team in Cairo and medium-term observers across the country will continue following up and assessing both the elections and the post-elections processes.
According to different reports issued by NGOs and organizations monitoring the election during the first two days, turnout in many governorates was low.
The campaigns of both presidential candidates rejected the decision to extend the voting period to a third day.
In a move regarding the extension of the voting period, the campaign of the presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi ordered its representatives to withdraw from polling stations.
“There was a clear absence of the representatives of the campaign of presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi at polling stations on Wednesday,” according to a statement by Maat for Peace Development and Human Rights, an Egyptian NGO monitoring the elections.
The campaign of the presidential candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi expressed its disapproval of the decision, but did not order its representatives to withdraw from the polling stations.