The COMESA Election Observer Mission to the first phase of the 2015 Parliamentary elections in Egypt has endorsed the electoral process as peaceful, transparent and credible.
In a statement issued Sunday 25 October 2015 in Cairo, the Mission said the elections met the standards set out in the national constitution and supportive legal frameworks and provided a democratic opportunity for the people of Egypt to express their sovereign right to vote. The election was conducted on 18 and 19 October 2015.
Leader of the COMESA Observer Team Hon. Felix Mutati (right) said the overall voting process was calm and counting conducted in a transparent and orderly manner.
â€œCOMESA observed that more than 90% of the polling stations visited complied with the opening instructions and procedures. We note that most of the polling stations were strategically located, clearly demarcated with well-labeled instruction signs. This facilitated easy access of the polling stations,â€ Hon. Mutati said during a media conference in Cairo.
He said the polling arrangements were conducive for the smooth conduct of the voting process and the use of technology in some polling stations was commendable as it enhanced the integrity of the voting process. Voters with special needs were adequately assisted.
The observers however noted with concern the low turnout of voters particularly the youth. According to various stakeholders who interacted with the observers, this was attributed to low level of awareness on the elections among the population, scheduling of the election on working days and general voter apathy.
In its preliminary report, COMESA Team made several recommendations to the High Electoral Commission of Egypt. These include the need for enhanced civic and voter education, engaging the youth in various political programmes and activities that will enhance their effective participation in consolidating democratic processes and increasing the deployment of women in management of elections.
COMESA had deployed 50 observers from 14 Member States who were trained on the election instruments, principles, values and methodology. They were deployed to observe the election in six governorates namely: Alexandria, Baheria, Minya, Fayoum, Giza and Benisuef representing 54 constituencies out of 103. In total, COMESA observed elections in more than 250 polling stations.
The team will also observe the re-run scheduled for the 27th -28th October 2015 and issue a more comprehensive report that will be shared with the Government of the Republic of Egypt after a period of 90 days.
COMESA partnered with the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), the International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights (IIPJHR) and a national NGO, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights (MPDH) with the primary objective of increasing the scope of geographical coverage, balance and objectivity.
Full COMESA Statement attached;