World Bulletin / News Desk
The African Union (AU) plans to send 40 observers to Egypt to monitor the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections, although some critics of Egypt’s army-backed regime question the legitimacy of the polls.
According to a Wednesday statement issued by the AU, the move comes at the invitation of the Egyptian authorities.
The AU Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) to Egypt, which will be led by Amos Sawyer, a former interim president of Liberia, will remain in Egypt from Oct. 9 to 30 in order to monitor the first round of the polls slated for Oct. 18 and 19.
“Upon the conclusion of the first round of voting on Oct. 18 and 19, the mission will issue a preliminary statement on its findings and observations,” the AU statement read.
“The AU will deploy an expert mission to follow up on the second round of elections scheduled for Nov. 22 and 23,” it added. “The findings of both missions will be used to issue a final report.”
Egypt’s upcoming two-phase parliamentary vote will be the final step of a political “roadmap” imposed by the army in mid-2013 following a military coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
The country’s first democratically-elected leader, Morsi was also a leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group.
The army’s roadmap also included a constitutional referendum and a presidential election, the latter of which brought President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi -- who as army chief led the coup against Morsi -- to power. Both polls were held last year.
Since the 2013 military coup, the Egyptian authorities have waged a relentless crackdown on Morsi’s supporters and members of his now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, hundreds of whom have been killed and tens of thousands detained.
Most of the Brotherhood leaders to have escaped the crackdown in Egypt now reside in self-imposed exile overseas.
- 'Void before they begin'
One such Brotherhood leader, Gamal Heshmat, for his part, says Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary polls will lack any legitimacy, as they will be held in the absence of any genuine opposition to the al-Sisi regime.
“Firstly, the basis on which the [army-imposed] roadmap was built is false, because it was done at gunpoint, following a full military coup d'etat,” Heshmat was quoted as saying last month by the Brotherhood’s official website.
“Secondly, the coup's constitution and presidential elections were marred by fraud and were not in line with international standards,” he added.
As for Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary polls, Heshmat said, "these are void before they even begin, as they will take place in an entirely exclusionary climate, with all opponents killed, detained or harassed and their parties, newspapers and television channels closed.”Last Mod: 08 Ekim 2015, 15:26