HPEC rejects appeal on election extension decision
Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi - YOUM7/Hussien Tallal
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: The High Presidential Election Committee rejected Friday the appeal, filed by Hamdeen Sabbahi’s campaign, against its extension of the presidential election for a third day.

“The HPEC will look Sunday into the second appeal, concerning some polling stations where violations to presidential election laws were recorded,” lawyer Tarek Nagida, Sabbahi’s campaign legal advisor, told The Cairo Post on Saturday.

The first appeal was against the May 27 decision by the HPEC to extend voting to May 28, despite objections raised by Sabbahi and rival candidate and former Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Regarding the second appeal, Sabbahi campaign lawyers requested that votes casted on May 28 be considered void.

Based on the Sabbahi campaign report on violations that took place inside polling stations during the elections, the lawyers also demanded that all votes casted in stations where violations were recorded be considered void.

HPEC Vice President Abdel Wahab Abdel Razak said the committee is yet to make a final decision about Sabbahi’s appeals, after hearing his lawyers statements, especially concerning the polls where violations were recorded, Razak told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

According to Youm7, Sabbahi campaign members reported several violations and flaws in the electoral process, mainly abuse against the campaign, such as police arrests and assaults on the campaign members.

Nonetheless, Sabbahi had stated during a conference following the last day of the election, that he would accept election results despite reported violations, which he does not believe could have significantly affected results.

Hamed Gabr, a member of Sabbahi’s campaign, spoke on TV of Sabbahi’s recognition of “defeat” in the presidential race, adding that the campaign filed an official report on violations and not an appeal.

Politicians and public figures consider Sabbahi’s appeal to be useless. According to Emad Gad, vice-president of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Sabbahi’s appeal will not change the results of the elections.

“Even appealing on specific polling stations results will not benefit Sabbahi, who obtained less than a million votes, in comparison to his rival who is a popular icon and who obtained more than 23 million votes,” Gad stated to Tahrir TV channel.

Other violations reported by the campaign included promotional activities in favor of one candidate at the polling stations, in addition to attempts to direct people’s votes, and the use of microphones by army vehicles to advertise for Sisi.

Sabbahi’s official campaign has been reporting on infringement during the three days of the election, claiming its members have been repeatedly forced to leave polling stations whenever they made objections on illegal acts they witnessed.

Egypt’s next president is to be officially announced before June 5, possibly on June 4,  the HPEC said.

Additional reporting by Abdel Wahab Gendy, Ibrahim Kassem and Samar Salama.

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