Vote-buying and other misuses of campaign funds accounted for most violations of election rules during the second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, according to various bodies responsible for observing the poll.
Observers highlighted several types of infringement related to the use of political funds by candidates over the two-day voting period. These included the distribution of money bribes, food and drinks, posters and flyers, as well as the use of microbuses to advertise the candidates and transfer voters. Children were also seen wearing campaign t-shirts outside polling stations.
Mohamed El-Shentnawy, manager of the parliamentary observatory mission led by the Maat foundation, told Daily News Egypt: “The candidates were well prepared for this round. They avoided repeating the mistakes of the first round, and used creative methods of bribery which resulted in the improved turnout of 17% in this round, compared with around 11% to 12% in the first round.”
According to the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), the turnout in the second round was 16.5%.
El-Shentnawy also said the large number of violations during this round will impact on the results, because so many people were given directions on who to vote for.
Despite these violations, government officials have released no details of major breaches of electoral integrity and transparency.
Meanwhile, various administrative errors were observed, with some employees directing voters in the polling stations. However, the number of such cases was small, say officials, mostly involving officials assisting elderly people and those with special needs.
El-Shentnawy said many more people voted in the second round due to the improved security arrangements compared with the first round. Both police and military forces were present in large numbers at polling stations.
In several cases of clashes between delegates, the judges acted to calm the situation, stopping voting for short periods while order was restored. In the Mousa Bin Nossir area in Cairo, three polling stations were closed and sealed with red wax after a dispute between three candidates.
Regarding the performance of the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC), El-Shentnawy said there were various administrative errors in polling stations, as well as judges arriving late, delaying proceedings and causing overcrowding.
He concluded that the turnout of young voters was generally low, as with the first round, although there was a high turnout of women of all ages and older men.
According to the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR), candidates offered women bribes of between EGP 400 and EGP 500.
ECWR said in the Shubra constituency there was a dispute among women voters after they claimed they had been given only EGP 50 for voting for a particular candidate, when they had been promised EGP 100.
In the Zagazig constituency’s (polling stations 97, 98, 99 and 100) female pensioners were allegedly gathered by an employee from the social insurance department to vote for the candidate Hassan Salah. They were offered EGP 50 for the job and told that their pensions would be stopped if they declined the offer.
In Menufiya, delegates distributed blankets as bribes to women voters, according to ECWR.