Press release

April 23, 1998

Administrative Court ruling testifies to election rigging

The Administrative Court, department of civil disputes (a) presided over by Justice 'Abd al-'Aziz Hamada issued a ruling on April 21, 1998 canceling the local council election results in Giza governorate, 'Ayat district, and a similar ruling canceling the local council election results in al-Sharabiya district, having proved that serious violations took place during the elections held in April 1997.

The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid has appealed against the election results in the two districts on behalf of candidates Mustafa Sa'ad Mukhaymur ('Ayat district) and Emile Edwar Zaki (al-Sharabiya district). The Center's lawyers submitted documents which contained irrefutable evidence of vote manipulation during both the initial stages and vote counting.

CHRLA has so far obtained three court rulings nullifying the local council election results, after having proven that fraud and numerous violations took place throughout the whole election process. The Center had previously obtained a court ruling canceling the results of the local people's council election in al-Fayum governorate and al-Fayum City. There are still a number of other similar cases subject to the deliberation of the Administrative Court. The Center has filed an appeal against the local council election results in Salaam City, al-Matariya, Helwan, Imbaba, and Doqqi.

CHRLA believes that the Administrative Court will rule in favor of the Center's demand to cancel the election results in these constituencies, since the reports of the State Commissioners on this issue confirm dozens of outrageous violations, including the presence of police officers in the election offices without the request of the heads of the election committees, assaults on representatives of the candidates and their expulsion from the committees, and the transfer of ballot boxes without permitting the candidates or their representatives to accompany them to the headquarters of the vote counting committees. Attacks were also carried out on some of the candidates during vote counting, ballots for independent candidates were disregarded under the pretext that the votes were null and void, without filing police reports to that effect, and the ballots of those absent during the voting were marked, under police protection, in favor of the ruling National Democratic Party candidates. Votes were also cast in the name of deceased persons, whose official death certificates were submitted by CHRLA's lawyers.

These are but some examples of the usual violations which have become common practice in all of the representative elections in Egypt in the light of continued Interior Ministry control of all election activities. The fact that those commit these crimes go free is an obstacle to justice, be it the result of an absence of complete judicial control over the elections, the heads of the election committees' overlooking the record of violations, or the protection the law provides for those who commit these crimes, by the withdrawal of criminal lawsuits against them six months after the announcement of election results or other proceedings connected to the investigation of these misdemeanors.

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