Friday, November 25, 2005

Mubarak takes a page from the Bushites; election stealing

 

CAIRO, November 25, 2005

(IslamOnline.net) 

Some 137 Egyptian judges have supported the written testimony of their fellow judge accusing authorities of "flagrant falsification" of election results, in favor of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

In her testimony published by Egypt's independent daily Al-Masri Al-Youm, Judge Nuha Al-Zeini wrote she has witnessed falsification of the election results in Bandar Damanhur – in Al-Bihaira governorate, some 170 kms northwest of Cairo, where Mustafa Al-Fiqi, NDP candidate, was declared winner.

"There was vote-rigging in the Damanhur constituency," said Zeini, vice-president of Administrative Prosecution Authority and president of an electoral subcommittee in the same Damanhur constituency.

"All indications from almost all subcommittees showed, beyond doubt, that Jamal Hishmat (Muslim Brotherhood candidate) won 25,000 votes – at the lowest estaimation -- compared to only 7,000 votes for Al-Fiqi, at the highest estimation" Zeini, who attended the counting process almost till the very end, added.

In her detailed signed testimony, Zeini described the general atmosphere in the counting tent, quoting some judges as saying "Al-Fiqy's loss would cause shockwaves". The judge further said she was ready to testify in court and called on Egypt's judges to boycott the remaining rounds of the elections.

On Friday, November 25, 137 judges, who presided over subcommittees in the same constituency's 160 subcommittees, supported Zeini's testimony, casting deep concerns over the impartiality of some senior judges heading the electoral process, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Counselor Mahmoud Al-Khudeiry, head of the Alexandria Judges Club, told the independent daily that he has prepared a fact-finding report on claims of voting-rigging in the Bandar Damanhur constituency which revealed falsification of the election results.

"The report showed that Fiqi won 8,606 votes while Hishmat won 24,611 votes," Khudeiry said.

"This shows that the official results on Fiqi's victory were totally incompatible with those announced by judges of the electoral subcommittees."

Khudeiry further called for an immediate inquiry into the vote-rigging.

Flagrant Violations

 

Counselor Yehia Galal, member of the Alexandria Judges Club, also backed Zeini's testimony.

"The Judges Club has received many complaints on the official results of the Bandar Damanhur constituency."

Counselor Ahmed Mekki, head of the club's election follow-up committee, and counselor Hisham Al-Bastawisi, vice-president of the Court of Cassation, echoed a similar stance.

"Judges and secretaries of the subcommittees and citizens have complained of similar cases of vote-rigging in other constituencies in Damanhur," Meki said.

"There were also complaints on electoral violations committed by the police forces."

On Tuesday, Egypt's Judges Union has pressed for army protection to shield its members against attacks by thugs in the current parliamentary elections.

The judges also accused the police of "allowing thugs to enter polling stations, attack judges, break and burn ballot boxes and terrorize voters."

IslamOnline.net has revealed that Egyptian security agents directed machete and club wielding gangs in attacks against voters and supporters of opposition candidates in the second round of the Egyptian parliamentary elections.

The flagrant irregularities have driven a European parliament delegation monitoring the elections to return home, saying they would not return for the run-off of the second phase or the third round of polls.

In a statement to IOL, the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid further said it did not monitor the second phase as the first round was knee-deep in regularities.

What happened in the Damanhour constituency in the second round echoed two other constituencies in Cairo and Giza in the first round, also involving NDP heavyweights against Muslim Brotherhood candidates.

Exempted

In a press conference Thursday, Hishmat called for questioning Counselor Ahmed Abdul Sattar Nassar, head of the Bandar Damanhur electoral committee, on the result's falsification.

He also urged the Egyptian President to interfere to halt the widespread vote-rigging practiced by the ruling party.

News reports said Friday that Nassar has decided to shy away from monitoring the remaining rounds of the polls.

"Nassar has requested to be exempted from supervising the vote," a judicial source told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Later, counselor Nasser has withdrawn his request, the source added.

"But Justice Minister Mahmoud Abul Leil decided to accept his request and exempted him from monitoring the polls."

After a first phase surge of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, the ruling party suffered another setback in last week's second phase, although its dominance of parliament is not at risk.

Winning 34 seats in the first phase of the legislative polls, the Muslim Brotherhood grabbed 13 others in the second round while the NDP won only six seats. Run-offs are due to be held on Saturday, November 26.

Political experts in Egypt had predicted that Mubarak's NDP, while in no danger of losing its majority, would use strong-arm tactics to prevent the Brotherhood from making further inroads in the legislative elections.

With state-owned media dropping "the fig leaf" and violating all professional measures to support the cracking NDP, police leading intimidation campaigns and now judges speaking up, observers and experts are casting heavy doubts on the very "legality" of Egypt's coming parliament.

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