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Egypt Prohibits International Monitors from Tracking Upcoming Election
June 30, 2011
Egyptian military leaders announced July 21 that the Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would prohibit international groups from monitoring the outcome of the upcoming parliamentary elections,a decision nominally intended to prevent international involvement from “interfering with Egypt’s sovereignty.” Only Egyptian nationals would be permitted to act as election observers. The announcement coincided with promulgation of a new electoral law, which formalized selection procedures for the People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament. The SCAF’s stance on international observers troubles many in the Egyptian NGO community, who worry that the lack of independent monitors will permit authorities to disguise serious electoral flaws.
In recent weeks, thousands have filled Tahrir Square, calling on the military rulers to honor promises to transition the country to a genuine democracy. In response to latest protests, a new Cabinet was sworn in July 2,hundreds of senior policeofficers were dismissed, and the SCAF said it would create a committee to devise principles for drafting the new constitution. At the same time, however, a number of troubling signs about Egypt’s political direction have recently emerged. For example, the military recently reinstated the Ministry of Information, seen by many as a mechanism for stifling media freedom. Egypt’s notorious emergency lawalso continues in force, permitting the authorities to restrict freedom of assembly and allows arrests and indefinite detentions without charge.
Freedom House is deeply concerned by the decision to ban international monitors in the upcoming Egyptian elections, and urges the military to show that it is truly committed to the principles of democracy by allowing its elections to be as free and transparent as possible.
Egypt Policy Brief: July 2011