EU EOM reports presidential election fair
EU EOM's press conference Tuesday - YOUM7/Khaled Kamel

CAIRO: The presidential election held from May 28-30 was to a great extent fair, said Mario David, the chief observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Egypt (EU EOM) in a Tuesday press conference.

The conference presented the final results of the monitoring mission, which visited a number of polling stations.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry met with David Monday to receive the final report of the EU EOM. David said during the press conference held Tuesday that Egyptian authorities will take some time to study the report before responding to it.

The final report included two kinds of recommendations—short term and long term—to be considered by Egyptian authorities. Short term recommendations could be implemented without amending the current legislation and these include ensuring those who turn 18 before or on the day of the elections are included in the electoral database in addition to facilitating voting for people waiting for trials and handicapped people by making polling stations more accessible.

Procedures like enhancing ballot secrecy by issuing detailed guidelines on the layout of polling stations and informing voters how to handle ballots should also be provided by authorities responsible for elections according to the report.  It additionally recommended announcing the publication of a transparent, detailed publication of the updated elections database to ensure fair elections.

David said that long term recommendations include demanding legislative action that aims at “pluralism, universal participation in the political process—including participation in future elections—and enhancing public trust.”

This would include ensuring participation of women by ensuring the registration of women and issuing them their own national IDs to allow them to participate in elections. It also suggested imposing legal obligations to allow women to hold public office through elections.

Finally, the report recommended there should be legislative regulations to cap campaign spending in order to guarantee fair electoral opportunities.

The observation mission arrived in Egypt before the presidential election and held a conference to announce that they would monitor the elections after previously announcing they would not due to problems with customs authorities who refused to release their communication equipment.

A delegation of the African Union also observed the presidential election and delegation head Mohamed el-Amin—a former Mauritanian prime minister—said Egyptian authorities were very cooperative and allowed the delegation to observe freely, Youm7 reported May 24.

The EU EOM had issued a statement of preliminary findings on May 29 in a press conference and said that a final report would be published later. The preliminary report said that the election was democratic and that turnout reached 47.3 percent, according to High Presidential Elections Committee reports.

This percentage was considered to be fair according to Robert Goebbels, the head of the Short Term Observers Mission, who said during the press conference that a high turnout is not a guarantee for a free and fair election.

Susy de Martini, a member of the European Union Observation Mission, told The Cairo Post on May 24 that the 47.3 percent turnout was high, and would not happen in Europe, yet she also added that in Europe elections last for just one day and not for three days like what happened in Egypt.

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