29 November 2020 09:22 PM

Egypt State Information Service (SIS)

SIS: International media highlights gradual increase in turnout for House of Representatives elections on last day of voting

Sunday، 25 October 2020 - 11:44 PM

The international media continued its extensive media coverage of the House of Representatives elections on the second day of the first phase, which began yesterday, October 24, and ends this evening in 14 governorates. According to a report prepared by the State Information Service (SIS) on the media coverage of the foreign correspondents participating in covering the polls. This coverage highlighted the following aspects:

- The "National Coalition" is running for elections on the slate system, in addition to three other lists, namely the "Alliance of Independents" in Cairo, Central and Southern Delta District, Call of Egypt (Nidaa Masr) in Northern, Central and Southern Upper Egypt District and Western Delta District, and the “Sons of Egypt” in Eastern Delta District.

- House of Representatives elections will continue for several weeks, then the new parliament will hold its inaugural session shortly after the announcement of the final results in December. The new parliament will be the second to be formed since the election of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as president. Some reports quoted Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly’s statements in which he said, “Following the completion of Senate as well as House of Representatives elections, the Parliament will now have its two chambers to play their role side-by-side. This would consolidate the country's democratic base and enrich parliamentary life in Egypt.”

- The turnout at polling stations increased gradually, being average during the pre- and mid-afternoon period in order for voters to avoid high temperatures, and then gradually increased after sunset until the polling stations closed at 09:00 pm. Some reports highlighted the fact that the turnout is noticeably high in villages and rural areas in some governorates, such as Giza and the hometown of the candidates. Expectations of higher turnout prevail at the end of this round, especially in the "tribal areas" in Upper Egypt governorates.

- Women and elderly men are at the forefront of the electoral scene as a number of polls in Giza governorate witnessed a remarkable women's queuing and a prominent presence of the elderly.

- Holding House of Representatives elections in two stages in light of "COVID-19" - despite the slight increase in the daily infection cases and the authorities' warning of a second wave of the pandemic in the future - strengthened citizens' confidence in the measures taken by the Egyptian state. Banning the voters from using the phosphorous ink after voting is part of the measures to combat the virus, in addition to requiring all parties to the electoral process to use alcohol and wear gloves, with sterilizing the polls before and after voting.

- The presence of a number of foreign and Egyptian NGOs as observers for the elections. An international observation mission consisting of 7 civil non-governmental organizations from European and African countries participated in the follow-up of the elections.

- “Uncertainty about the use of money to influence the electorate”, as Reuters reported that it was not able to independently verify whether there were promises to provide money in exchange for votes. A senior official from Nation's Future Party also refused to use the money to influence voters, saying, "Any violations will be investigated."

- The availability of security forces from the police and members of the Army, although the police are the ones handling the largest securing part in a different way from past elections. Women’s police are also present to carry out procedures related to dealing with female voters. The Egyptian security forces managed to control riots in the vicinity of one of the polling stations and restore calm.

- Focusing on the statements made by Counselor Lashin Ibrahim, head of the National Elections Authority, who confirmed the regularity of voting operations within the polls from the start of voting until the polling stations closed. He also calls for Egyptians to go to the polls and refer to the ballot boxes, and contribute to building their country, Egypt.

- Resorting to unique and innovative electoral advertising methods on the part of some candidates, represented by the use of popular singers to produce popular songs as their propaganda, taking advantage of thousands of followers of these artists, despite an official decision by the Syndicate of Musical Professions banning them from singing. Not only are the candidates for the governorates in which the first phase of the elections is held, but some candidates for the governorates of the second phase use the same method as well.

- Some international media coverage was characterized by presenting presumptions and dealing with them as facts that can be relied upon, including the role of the next parliament in political life in the future, announcing the victory of specific candidates or lists, and using political money to attract votes.

- Some media reports resorted to comparing the participation rates in the previous House of Representatives elections, the Senate elections, and the current House of Representatives elections and dealt with them as a measure of the participation rates in the current elections, despite the existence of a second phase of the House of Representatives elections.

Field follow-up: No complaints from foreign media representatives

- Representatives of the international media continued their media coverage of the polls on the last day without hindrance, as no complaints were received by the State Information Service operation room at the press center for foreign correspondents.

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