Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (Cairo)

22 December 2012

Egypt: Late Opening of Polling Stations in Many Egyptian Governorates

press release

Egypt's new constitution, drafted by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, has been approved by 63.8 percent of voters in a two-round ... ( Resource: Egypt Approves Disputed Draft Constitution

An estimated 25.5 million voters - out of a total 51.3 million - in 17 Egyptian governorates are expected to head to the polls today, December 22, 2012, in the second phase of the national referendum on the country's first post-uprising draft constitution.

The governorates can be divided into four groups: three Suez Canal ones (Port Said, Suez and Ismailia); five Nile Delta ones (Qalioubiya, Menoufiya, Damietta, Kafr El-Sheikh and Beheira); six Upper Egypt governorates (Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Luxor and Qena); and three border ones (Marsa Matruh, the Red Sea and the New Valley).

According to statistics released by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC), a judicial body officially in charge of supervising the referendum, there will be 176 main polling stations and 6,724 auxiliary ones operating on Saturday. Schools, youth centers and courts will house the majority of the polling stations.

Of the 17 governorates voting in Saturday's poll, Giza has the most number of registered voters, with 4.3 million constituents (representing 17.2 per cent of the total). It is followed by Beheira, with 3.2 million (12.9 per cent); Minya with 2.7 million; Qalioubiya with 2.6 million and Menoufiya with 2.2 million.

The three border governorates of Marsa Matruh, the Red Sea and the New Valley together have only half a million registered voters. The three Suez Canal governorates (Port Said, Suez and Ismailia) include around 1.5 million voters.

During the first two hours the observers of the Egyptian Coalition for Electoral Observation documented electoral violations that are not different from those documented during the first phase.

The observers of the Egyptian Coalition of Electoral Observation until 10.30 am witnessed electoral violations including:

 Late opening of polling stations:

In Giza, the observers of the Egyptian coalition documented late opening of the polling station no. 9, Osim Commercial School, 8.30 am. The security officer asked the judge to see his ID before entering the school, but the supervising judge refused showing his ID and left the school. Other schools in Giza opened late such as Shorouk School in Warraq, Al Nour Islamic School in Ard Al Lewa and Al Nasr Primary School in Kirdasa, opened at 9 am.

In Suez, the polling stations no. 99, 101, 104 in Shemi Primary School and the polling stations no. 105, 111, 112 in Amr Ibn Al Ass School opened at 8.30 am. The polling stations no. 94, 95 and 98 in Sadat School opened at 8.30 and the same was documented in the polling stations no. 128 and 134 in Al Nasr Primary School. Polling stations no. 60, 64, 66, 68, 71 and 74 in Tal Kalzam School opened at 9.45 am and the polling stations no. 156, 158 and 160 in Sami Al Barodi School opened at 8.50 am.

In Menoufia, the observers of the Egyptian coalition documented late opening of the polling station no. 20 in Salam Primary School in Tabloha, Tala, 9.40 am.

In Port Said, the observers documented late opening of the polling stations in Al Amin School in Manakh District opened at 8.40 am.

In Bani Suef, the polling station no. 12 in Bani Suef School for Girls opened at 8.40 and the polling station no. 40 in the Preparatory School in Samasta and the polling stations in Shahid Yahia Galal School in Samasta opened at 9 am.

In Fayoum, the polling stations at Saha Shabia Youth Center and Al Reda Primary School in Sinnoris opened at 8.30 am.

Campaigning:

In Port Said, the observers documented individuals belong to Freedom and Justice Political Party distributing publications urging people to vote "yes" at the polling stations in Al Amin School in Manakh District.

In Behaira, the observers documented individuals distributing publications urging people to vote "yes" in front of the polling stations no. 59 and 60 in Kafr Bani Helal Primary School in Damanhour.

Problems in voter lists:

In Ismailia, the observers of the Egyptian coalition documented the late Namat Tovils Kaldas that died in 2010, registered in the voter lists, no. 3394, Othman Ahmed Othman School in Sheikh Zaid.

Banning observers of NGOs:

In Suez, the observers of civil society organizations were banned from entering polling stations of Tal Kalzam School, despite of having the required local observer authorizations used during the parliamentary and presidential elections.

Thuggish acts:

In Port Said, the observers of the Egyptian coalition witnessed clashes between supporters and opponents of the draft constitution in front of Al Salam Secondary School. The security forces ended the clashes.

Group transport:

In Bani Suef, the observers of the Egyptian coalition documented group transport of voters to the polling stations in Sheikh Abed Primary School in Samasta to vote "yes".

Influencing voters:

In Kalyoubia, veiled women are urging voters to vote "yes" in the polling stations no. 15 and 16 in Salam Primary School in Kafr Shokr.

In Minia, the observers of the Egyptian coalition witnessed Islamists urging voters to vote "yes" in the polling stations no. 33 and 34 in Sheikh Ziad School.

It is worthy to mention that the Egyptian Coalition for Electoral Observation includes 123 development and human rights' civil society organizations, in 26 governorates countrywide. The coalition has formed an equipped operation room for receiving the statements of the local and international observers on the situation in the polling stations. The operation room is located at the Egyptian organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

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