11 December 2012

Egypt: Morsi Bans Voting Outside of Assigned Electoral Districts

Photo: Heba Aly/IRIN
Hayam Yousef, a mother of three, waits in line for her turn to vote in Egypt's first elections (file photo).

President Mohamed Morsi issued an amendment to Law 73 for the year 1956 canceling the stipulation that voters can cast their ballots in referendums outside of their electoral districts, a presidential statement on Tuesday 11/12/2012 said.

The amendment is aimed at "public interest, and for Egypt to successfully end the current transition and move on to the building of constitutionally-founded institutions," read the statement from the presidential office.

The statement added that the amendment also aimed at "avoiding concerns about the fairness of the electoral process and to alleviate the judges supervising the polling from potential burdens."

The presidential statement said that the amendment was requested by the Supreme Elections Commission, adding that while allowing voters to cast their ballots outside their electoral districts may be convenient for people, the process can produce many appeals and cast a lot of doubts about the extent to which the referendum is a free and clean process. Moreover, allowing voters to cast their ballots outside of their electoral districts would entail that supervising judges create lists for those who are not registered in a given district, which would impose an additional burden on them.

The referendum starts on 12 December with voters abroad casting their ballots, while it will take place in Egypt on 15 December.

The constitution over which the referendum is to be held has been a site of contentions with secular forces charging Islamist ones of hijacking the drafting process.

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