EGYPT: Alleged election-fraud incidents flood social media
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A number of videos shot by citizens reporting violations in the Egyptian parliamentary electoral process have swept social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
With heavy restrictions imposed on both print and broadcast media during Sunday’s elections, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians resorted to both following and pointing out violations via websites.
The son of an independent candidate was allegedly stabbed to death by two men in pre-election violence. Many voters and observers spoke of intimidation and bullying from what they called ‘thugs and supporters of the ruling National Democratic Party’s candidates.’
A number of polling stations in and outside Cairo allegedly were closed ahead of schedule by security officers, leaving hundreds of angry voters protesting outside the premises.
Claims of forgery resulted in the withdrawal of three independent candidates in the constituencies of Helwan, Azbakeya and 6th of October.
Members of the country’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, who had their official and affiliated websites blocked on Sunday, said their supporters were harassed by hoodlums paid by the NDP. The Islamist group’s lawyer said 186 of its members were detained outside polling stations.
Minister of Information Anas Fekki later issued a statement saying that despite initial reports indicating that the elections had been a success, the Higher Electoral Committee is investigating a number of alleged violations and difficulties.
‘The HEC received a number of reports of breaches to the electoral laws in a number of districts and responded by invalidating the ballot boxes in those districts,’ read the statement. It added that while the government awaits the committee’s final report, it is confident that those irregularities were not representative of the overall elections.
-- Amro Hassan in Cairo
First video: A polling station employee filling election applications of no-show voters in favor of NDP candidates in the town of Belbeis, Sharkeya. Credit: YouTube.com
Second video: A hoodlum allegedly paid by an NDP candidate intimidating voters outside a polling station in Farskour, Damyetta. Credit: YouTube.com