Thursday, July 21, 2011

Egypt junta refuses international vote monitors

General Mamdouh Shaheen, assistant minister of defense for legal and constitutional affairs and a member of the military council

Source: Press TV

Egypt's military rulers have ruled out the possibility of presence of international monitors for the country's upcoming parliamentary elections.

"We have nothing to hide. We reject anything that affects our sovereignty," said Maj. General Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of the ruling military council, on Wednesday.

Shaheen was introducing the new elections law that was passed by the ruling military council.

Activists have voiced opposition to the junta's decision. Hafez Abou Saada, a member of the National Council for Human Rights, has said refusing international observers for election would push the country back to the era of former President Hosni Mubarak.

"International monitors are part of any modern elections. Many countries are watching what is happening in Egypt. This is not a very positive signal," Abou Saada said.

Shaheen said that judiciary would supervise the whole electoral process, limiting the role of the interior ministry that faced allegations of bribery and vote-rigging in the past elections.

The date of vote was first set for September but was delayed for up to two months, military sources said last week.

People will choose representatives for both the lower and upper house of parliament in 120 voting districts

The age of candidacy for the lower house has been lowered from 30 to 25. However, candidates running for the upper house must be at least 35 years old. The elected president will appoint 100 of the upper house's 390 members.

Half of the 504 parliament members will be elected through party lists and the other half through single winner system. Most parties support the list-based candidacy.

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