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.
Preliminary Results from Malian Elections Announced while Togo’s Opposition Party Rejects Parliamentary Election ResultsJuly 31, 2013 in Africa, Mali, Togo
While official results from Sunday’s presidential elections in Mali are not expected to be announced until Friday, the country’s interim government has stated that initial results indicate that Mali’s ex-Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubakar Keita has a clear lead in the polls that are intended to restore democratic rule in Mali. Meanwhile in Togo’s opposition party has rejected the ruling party’s win in the recent Parliamentary vote.
With a third of the votes counted in Mali’s presidential elections, the country’s interim government has stated on Tuesday that former Prime Minister Keita is expected to win the elections, with former Finance Minister Soumalia Cisse expected to gain second place. Col Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, the Minister of Territorial Administration, stated to journalists in the capital city of Bamako that “there is one candidate, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has a wide margin compared with other candidates…. If maintained, there will not be a need for a second round.” Mr. Cisse’s camp however has rejected the results, calling for an international commission to count the ballots that were case in Sunday’s poll. His spokesman, Amadou Koita, has called the announcement “scandalous” and has questioned why Col Coulibaly refused to provide figures to back up his statement. International observers have urged Malians to accept the outcome of the elections while Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who is the current head of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has expressed confidence that the Malian contenders will accept the voters‘ choice.
The announcement of a possible winner in Mali’s critical presidential elections comes just days after France hailed the elections as a success. The European Union also indicated on Monday that the elections had gone well and that they had been marked by enthusiasm amongst voters despite threats from Islamist terrorists that polling stations throughout the country would be attacked.
Sunday’s vote was the first election to be held since an uprising by Tuareg separatists sparked a military coup in March of last year, which toppled democratically elected President Amadou Toumani Toure and effectively plunged the country into a political crisis which opened the way for Islamist militants to occupy the vast northern desert regions for ten months before being ousted by a French-led military offensive that was launched in January of this year. The presidential elections are seen as critical in not only completing the transition towards a democracy but also in maintaining stability and security.
On Monday, Togo’s main opposition rejected the provisional electoral results which showed that the ruling party won two-thirds of the parliamentary seats, effectively allowing the current President’s family to maintain its decades-long grip on power. Although the full elections results of the country’s parliamentary elections were announced by the Electoral Commission on Sunday night, Togo’s main opposition coalition, Let’s Save Togo, had already alleged earlier in the day that irregularities had occurred during the elections. The following day, Agbeyome Kodjo, a key figure within the Let’s Save Togo party, called the vote and results a “sham,” stating that “its an electoral sham amid massive corruption and proven electoral fraud.” The West African nation’s constitutional court must now approve the results from Thursday’s elections before they can become final.
According to results that were released by the Electoral Commission on Sunday evening, President Faure Gnassingbe’s UNIR party won 62 of the 91 seats, giving the party a two-thirds majority in Parliament. If the results are approved by the constitutional court, the President’s party will effectively have control over an even greater percentage of seats than it currently holds. During the 2007 legislative elections, the UNIR party won 50 of 81 seats. The closest opposition party was Let’s Save Togo, which won 19 seats. During Thursday’s elections, the UNIR performed particularly well in the northern region of the country, which is its traditional stronghold. Meanwhile Let’s Save Togo is stronger in the south, winning seven of the ten seats in the capital city of Lome. The second-largest opposition group in the elections, the Rainbow coalition, obtained six seats in Parliament. In a statement that was released late on Monday, the party also rejected the results of the polls, alleging that “several serious anomalies and cases of massive fraud” were recorded during the elections.
Despite the opposition coalition stating that there were irregularities that occurred during the elections, observers from the African Union (AU) and West African bloc ECOWAS have stated that the elections were held in acceptable conditions. In turn, the United States Embassy in Togo congratulated the Electoral Commission on Monday on the peaceful outcome of the elections, urging all the political parties to “respect the wish of the Togolese people.” A statement released by the US Embassy stated that “we urge all the political parties to respect the wish of the Togolese people and resolve all differences in a peaceful manner, in conformity with the electoral law.” The Embassy also urged that the new national assembly undertake the strengthening of democracy and to work for a more prosperous future for the Togolese.
The long-delayed vote came after months of protests, with the opposition coalition seeking to bring about sweeping electoral reforms. Many of the protests were dispersed by security forces who fired tear gas into the crowds, while some thirty-five people, mostly opposition members, were detained in the run-up to the vote in connection with a number of suspicious fires that had occurred at two major markers. Thirteen opposition members have since been released, including five candidates who participated in Thursday’s polls. Over the coming days, as the results of the elections are either confirmed or denied by the constitutional court, it is highly likely that protests may break out if it is announced that the current President’s party has won a majority of the seats in Parliament.