As the second day of parliamentary elections in Egypt unfolds, political parties are monitoring the performance of their rivals before anything. Each candidate, whether affiliated to a political party or running independently, has a team distributed over polling stations to ensure ‘equal chances’, and on the side try to influence voters.
Political parties are referring to such actions as violations, since electoral campaigns are prohibited on elections’ day. Bribing came through gifts distribution but also through money sums ranging from EGP 100 to 500 per voter, according to the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP).
In its first daily report, the Free Egyptians Party (FEP) said its representatives were assaulted by a rival candidate in Mallawy, Upper Egypt, and that 16 others were prevented from entering polling stations.
Among the breaches of the electoral silence, FEP traced 42 incidents varied between flyers distribution inside polling stations, wearing promotional T-shirts, use of microphones and touring vehicles, providing transportation to voters with advertisements, giving bribes.
The FEP accused Al-Nour Party of committing most of these violations.
ESDP reported similar problems in terms of illegal candidate promotions in polling stations, accusing “Fi Hob Misr” [For the love of Egypt] electoral list ran by Sameh Seif El-Yazal. ESDP also accused the FEP in separate incidents later in the day, along with the parties of Al-Wafd, Future of a Nation, Misr Baladi and Al-Nour.
In Qena, ESDP said that supporters of the party candidate Ayyad Ragheb disputed with supporters of Misr Baladi’s candidate Saad Ibrahim, which resulted in expelling ESDP’s representative only, and not the other party.
Furthermore, the Conference Party headed by Omar Mokhtar reported that most complaints related to elections came from the governorate of Sohag, accusing several candidates of bribing voters and campaigning, including former Irrigation minister Mohamed Nasr El-Din, running on the list of The Egyptian Front Coalition & Tayyar Al-Istiqlal.
The party also said that in 6th of October City, Al-Rawda school buses were used by a candidate to take voters to polling stations, inside which “bags of bread” were distributed.
Each party dealt with infringements it believed affected the smooth process of the elections claimed to have filed official reports whether instantly inside the polling stations or directly sent to the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC).
This comes as the FEP reported participation turnout in the first day as “below average”. The Egyptian Socialist Party (ESP) called on citizens to vote in order not to “leave the political scene in the hands of Mubarak-era figures and Islamists,” stressing upon “national duty to vote”.