Accredited international and local civic organizations have embarked on pre-election monitoring measures by training their observers on Egypt’s election system, in accordance with the regulations set by the National Election Authority (NEA). The elections are due to be held in one week, from March 26 to March 28.
Media spokesman for Integrity Coalition for Elections Observation, Ayman Aqeel, told Egypt Today that the Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights has held meetings to distribute committees and inform international observers of the election systems and regulations as set by the National Election Authority (NEA).
The Integrity Coalition for Elections Observation is the first local and international coalition to observe the presidential election; the coalition members include Maat Foundation in Egypt, Volunteers Without Borders, and the Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development.
He remarked that international observers have been showing up since Sunday, adding that the Integrity Coalition intends to follow up on the election and vote counting, as well as ensure that the international regulations are adhered to throughout the election.
The coalition will distribute 300 observers, 20 in each governorate, to supervise as many subcommittees as possible, in cooperation with other civic organizations.
The coalition has begun its action during the current election campaign with a limited number of international observers; however, it will increase the number of local observers. The coalition will intensify efforts during the election itself from March 26 to 28, as well as throughout the counting process.
The coalition will issue reports to evaluate the election process during the campaign. This includes daily reports during the election and campaign, as well as an initial report to generally evaluate the three-day-election. After which, a press conference will be held to declare the election results.
Head of Maat Foundation, Ahmed Fawki, said that the foundation will declare in the upcoming days the final number of observers who will supervise the 367 general committees and 5,000 subcommittees across the governorates.
A total of 53 local civic organizations and nine international and Arab organizations have been approved to observe the 2018 presidential election. Two presidential candidates have been officially announced for the presidential bid: Incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and Al-Ghad party Head Moussa Moustafa Moussa.
The nine international organizations approved by the NEA are: Ma’ona Association for Human Rights and Immigration, Yemen, America, Arab Organization for Human Rights, Libyan Academic Organization, Sweden Center for Human Rights, Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, Volunteers Without Borders, the Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development, Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights and the International Center for Research and Human Rights in Brussels.
The National Election Authority issued an official declaration in January with instructions for civil society organizations who would like to observe the elections.
The NEC received applications from January 9 to 15. Observers’ registration took place for three days starting January 15. Observing organizations should immediately report their remarks, if any, to the NEC; the NEC will check their feedback and take appropriate action.
Organizations with permits would have the right to observe the candidates’ application procedures, their electoral campaigns as well as polling, and calculating final results. Foreign organizations are only able to use permits to engage in authorized activities.
Organizations applying for a permit should be working primarily in the fields of election observation, human rights or support for democracy. Furthermore, they ought to possess a good reputation of integrity and objectivity. Former experience of observing elections is a must.
After the election process is over, every organization should submit a report concluding what it has observed. Observing organizations are prohibited from releasing any information regarding election results until they are officially announced by the NEC.
The NEC has the right to revoke the permits of any observer, or any observing organization, at any time in case of breaching the aforementioned rules.
Voting will take place for three days starting March 26 domestically, while it began on March 16 for expats from 9 AM until 9 PM in each country’s local time. The winning candidate will be announced on April 2.
The Ministry of Immigration followed up on the 2018 presidential election abroad through its operation rooms. The ministry stated that it witnessed a high turnout of Egyptian expats abroad particularly in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan.