Egypt’s Presidential Election Commission Announces Candidates, Voting ProcessApril 28, 2014 in Egypt
27 April – In a press conference on Sunday, Egypt’s Presidential Election Commission (PEC) has announced that the final contenders for Egypt’s presidential election are Hamdeen Sabahi and Abdel-Fattah El Sisi. The documents of both candidates meet the eligibility requirements set by the commission.
The PEC also revealed details of the presidential election process, and has announced approvals for six international election monitoring organisations, as well as 79 domestic ones. A total of 116 Egyptian-based organisations applied to monitor the process. The PEC may allow the eliminated domestic organisations to participate by granting them “guest status”, the same status granted to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and the National Council for Women.
Forty four international media institutions applied to cover the elections. Thirty six were granted approval, along with 13 out of 18 satellite channels.
The two candidates have until 4 May to select their voting symbols; however both have already selected and are pending approval from the PEC. Election symbols are placed on ballots so that those in the population who are illiterate can associate the symbol with the candidate. El-Sisi, who was given priority in choosing his symbol because he submitted his papers first, plans to use a star. The star, long used by Arabs as a guide, is intended to suggest that Sisi will “lead the country to the right path.” Sabahi has requested the eagle, the symbol of Egypt’s national flag, and the symbol he was granted during his 2012 candidacy.
Election campaigning will run from 3 May until midnight on 23 May. A committee of representatives from the ministries of endowment, media, education, the police’s general investigation department, and the Egyptian Anti-Corruption Agency will monitor for violations of the no-campaigning policy after 23 May.
For Egyptian expats, voting will occur from 15 to 18 May. The PEC has announced that pre-registration is cancelled; any Egyptian who is outside of Egypt on the days of the election can vote at Egyptian embassies. There are 144 embassies and consulates in 124 countries that will serve as polling stations; however these do not include Libya, Syria, or Somalia, due to security concerns. Expatriates in those regions are encouraged to travel to nearby countries where polling stations are located.
Domestically, elections will begin on 26 May at 9 am, and end at 9 pm on the first day. On 27 May, polling stations will open at 9am and will not close until the last person standing casts his/her ballot.
The presidential elections are part of a three-step transitional roadmap adopted by the army upon Morsi’s ouster in July of 2013.
Shortly after the PECs announcement, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a group led by the Muslim Brotherhood movement, announced that they will boycott the election, calling it “a comic play”. In the statement made on their website and their Facebook page, they described the vote as “a farce” meant to appoint “the coup orchestrator” president, and that they would not recognise election monitoring conducted by “Western supporters of the coup.”
The group, which boycotted the referendum for the Egyptian constitution in January, believe that the existing government body have “committed crimes that exceed those committed by the Zionist Gang in Palestine.” On Saturday, supporters of the group held protests against El-Sisi, who authorised the removal of Morsi last year and has risen to popularity, expected to be the winner of the elections. Sisi has urged all Egyptians to vote in unprecedented numbers.