Monday, September 05, 2005

UPDATED: So much for judicial oversight of Egyptian elections

The pattern of the Husni Mubarak regime is to crimp any measure that will reveal the shallowness of support for the four-term president, who once pledged that he would not seek a second term. Behind the brutish and seemingly impregnable regime is a deep and somewhat exaggerated sense of the precariousness of its grip on power. There is also a fear of the potential power of the al-sha'ab, the people, whose mass demonstrations over the reduction of food subsidies in 1977 posed a memorable challenge to Anwar Sadat.

Cairo Magazine - Dissident judges banned: "Over 500 judges who have been most vocal in calling for reforms in the election monitoring process have been banned from supervising the elections by the Presidential Election Commission.
Top judges say that the decision has dealt a damning blow to hopes for a free and fair presidential election. "The commission is refusing to give the honest, independent judges the power to ensure the validity of the election results," fumed Hesham Al Bastawissi, a vice president of the Court of Cassation.
The sidelined judges had been calling for complete judicial independence from the executive in order to supervise the voting process. After the 25 May referendum the judges released a stingingly critical report entitled "Egypt's Conscience." In it, they accused the government of rigging the vote and falsifying turnout figures. The judges thereafter pledged that they would only supervise the presidential election if reforms were introduced. They demanded total independence and called for a reduction in the number of polling booths and an extended voting period. With only 8,000 members, the judges are unable to monitor all 54,000 polling stations over the course of one day. "
The Egyptian electoral commission said late Saturday night that it would not abide by a court ruling authorizing nongovernmental organizations to monitor the coming election for president, a decision that effectively places the commission above the law and calls into question the integrity of the vote scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

No comments: