More referendum fraud reports

Below is a press release from a woman's NGO whose monitors witnessed fraud in today's referendum. Those with access to al-Jazeera English may also want to look at their coverage, in which an Egyptian-American reporter working for the channel got to vote despite not having the appropriate ID by merely telling staff at voting booths that he was born in Egypt. They also interview an illiterate woman who is convinced she is voting for President Mubarak and doesn't know about the amendments.

The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Referendum Day: March, 26, 2007


Initial Report

Entering on the Condition of Voting YES
Applying the Constitution's Amendments Before the Referendum
Women and NGOs as the Main Tools

Three of ECWR's poll monitors for today's referendum on amendments to 34 articles of the Egyptian constitution, reported that voters were allowed to enter only on the condition that they vote YES to the amendments.

Although many polling places were quiet since the polls opened, ECWR monitors in the governorates of Cairo, Qalyoubya and Giza reported that voters were only allowed to enter the polling places of referendum conditionally upon voting YES.

In El-Sanya School for girls in El Sayida Zeynab (District 12) there were youth in front from the NDP checking if people entering the polling places were voting yes and mobilizing women to vote in more than one polling place (for people who live outside of their district), without identity cards or using the ink.

Also in front of some polling places such as:
- El Khdawy secondary school (District 62), Khalil Agha Secondary School for Boys (District 6), Bab El Sharya and El Naser Primary School (District 46)
- El Qalyoubia governorate (Banha) no ink was used and no judges were supervising on the ballot boxes

The NGOs used for their beneficiaries and resources in violation of the NGO Law No 84 of 2002:
- Abo El Enen Charity: gathered women in buses in front of El Sadya Secondary School for Boys where there were representatives wearing armbands with the name of Abou El Enan chanting "YES." Also, in front of El Zerra'a Collage they gathered students in governmental Minibuses in Giza District 1104, and had banners entitled "No to damaging Egypt's reputation …. Together towards better development"
- The Merciful Hand Association: gathered women in buses no 2744 and 3348 to vote Yes for the amendments
- Representatives of the NDP gathered people in front of Naser Institutional Hospital that worked in each department in the hospital. They took them in buses to Qalubeya (No. 24273) with posters for the NDP.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.