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EGYPT: Mubarak wins presidential election

CAIRO, 10 September 2005 (IRIN) - Hosni Mubarak has won 88.6 percent of votes cast in Egypt’s first contested presidential polls, the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) announced on Friday.

Mubarak has been in power for 24 years. The result of Wednesday’s elections gives him another six-year term as president of Egypt.

The elections were, however, marked by a low turnout with only 23 percent of the 32 million registered voters casting their ballots.

The main opposition candidate Ayman Nour won 7 percent of the votes cast. His demand for a re-run of the elections was rejected, PEC spokesperson Osama Attawiya told a news conference.

In several press statements, Nour, the leader of the al-Ghad (Tomorrow) Party, had said he intended to call for a repetition of elections in light of the irregularities that took place in polling stations.

"What happened was a continuation of the forged referendums that used to take place before," Nour said in a statement published in the independent al-Masry al-Youm newspaper.

Representatives of civil society groups, however, doubted the necessity of repeating the elections.

"The kind of irregularities that took place do not call for a repetition of elections," Nasser Amin of the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession (ACIJLP), said. "Only if the irregularities affect the results of the elections will there be a need for repetition."

The elections were the first contested presidential elections in which Egyptians were able to choose a leader from 10 candidates.

Previously, the parliament, which is dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), approved a sole candidate who was voted for through a national referendum.

Several civil society groups reported irregularities in polling stations throughout the country.

The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) said some stations lacked curtained-off areas behind which could citizens cast their votes.

"In addition, in several constituencies the NDP transported their voters to the polling stations using public buses and thus violating the law," Hafez Abu Saeda, EOHR Secretary General, said in a press statement.

The PEC did not make any official statements concerning these reports.

"The committee is still looking into the matter and hasn’t made any decisions concerning this issue yet," Attawiya said.

However, according to the Middle East News Agency (MENA), Attawiya stated in a press conference held on Wednesday that the PEC received a few complaints, mostly concerning unintentional errors.

The day of the election the PEC announced that civil society groups would be allowed to enter polling booths to observe the electoral process in surprising contrast with its previous stance.

Yet, throughout the country, many monitors complained of not being allowed to enter polling booths.

In statements made to the state-owned press, judges said that they hadn’t received any orders to allow representatives of the civil society groups to monitor.

"There was a misunderstanding of the PEC statements. The PEC allowed civil society monitors to visit the polling booth and not to monitor the electoral process. This means that monitors were allowed to enter for a few minutes and not stay throughout the whole day," Amin said.

However he recognised the fact that some judges had allowed representatives of civil society to stay in the polling booths for the whole day.

Amin said that some civil society representatives were able to observe the actual vote counting.

Themes: (IRIN) Governance

[ENDS]

 

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