CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) said Thursday that not enough representatives from the party were allowed to attend the vote counting process for the run-offs.
The run-offs for round two of parliamentary elections began Wednesday and the vote counting process began Thursday night after the polling stations closed at 7 pm.
Judges monitoring the elections justified this by saying there were too many representatives present; however, the FJP statement said “run-offs are never crowded with representatives because of the low number of candidates.”
FJP said there are around 700 ballot boxes in each constituency that need to be counted, calling on the Supreme Electoral Comission (SEC) to intervene and talk to the monitoring judges in order to avoid any problems that may occur during the vote counting process.
On the other hand, the more liberal Egyptian Bloc and the Salafi Al-Nour Party denied facing such a challenge.
Sherif Samir, media coordinator of the Free Egyptians Party, which spearheads the Bloc, told Daily News Egypt there were no reports of any violations or maltreatment of the Bloc’s representatives.
Gamal Hassan, who tops Al-Nour’s party list in Ismailia, said he had no supicions that there would be any foul play during the vote counting process.
"Our representatives will follow the ballot boxes as they head towards the general stations where the vote counting will take place and we will also be waiting at the stations to monitor the process," Hassan told DNE.
The turnout in some governorates was markedly less than Wednesday, which observers put at around 20 percent.
However, in constituencies where voting on the party lists was held along with the run-offs, including the first constituency of Menufiya and the second constituencies in Beheira and Sohag, the turnout was higher.
Elections for the party lists in these districts were postponed in the first stage of elections, which took place on Dec. 14-15, by a court order to include candidates previously disqualified and correct symbols.
The run-offs are being held in nine governorates including Giza, Beni Suef, Menufiya, Sharqiya, Ismailia, Suez, Beheira, Sohag and Aswan.
Hassan said the turnout in Ismailia was higher on day two of the run-offs, at around 35 percent.
Sheikh Abdel Khaleq Mohamed, the candidate who heads Al-Nour’s party list in Suez, maintained that the turnout was very low.
No flagrant violations were reported on Thursday except in Ismailia, where Ali Abdallah, leading member of the FJP, said human rights observers were kicked out of polling stations in Fath and El-Hay El-Abbasy schools because their clearences were not signed by SEC.
In Sohag, Mohamed Abdel Rehim, an elections monitor with the Egyptian Association for Social Participation, said that one of the supporters of Democratic Salam Party presented a forged document proving that he was their representative in Gerga district.
There are 59 seats up for grabs in the run-offs. The FJP is fielding 49 candidates, while Al-Nour Party is fielding 36. The Free Egyptians Party is fielding two candidates, one in Menufiya and the other in Boulaq in the Giza governorate.
In Menufiya, Mohamed Anwar Ahmed Esmat El-Sadat is the only candidate who won an absolute majority for the professional seat in the governorate’s second constituency Tala.
The Islamists swept the polls in the first two rounds, winning almost 70 percent of the party list votes in each phase.
The next round, slated for Jan. 3-4, will be the final phase of the People’s Assembly elections. It will include the remaining nine governorates: Minya, Qaliubiya, Gharbiya, Daqahliya, South Sinai, North Sinai, Matrouh, Qena and El-Wadi El-Gadid.