Saturday, November 27, 2010

Voting stations changed, Ismail considering withdrawal

Less than 24 hours before Egypt's Parliamentary elections, authorities have rearranged which polling stations voters should report to in the strategic Qasr el-Nil district in downtown Cairo. The change was discovered less than two hours ago when independent candidate Gameela Ismail arrived at the Qasr el-Nil police station to file her list of representatives for the district. Representatives are permitted to remain inside polling stations and watch for irregularities.

Representatives may only observe in the polling station to which they are assigned to vote. The last-minute rearrangement means many of Ismai's representatives - and those of other candidates - are no longer valid, as they are now assigned to different polling stations.

The woman in charge of the lists at the Qasr el-Nil station told Ismail it would be impossible to provide her with a copy of the new lists by 5pm, the deadline for turning in the paperwork for representatives.

"How can I communicate with people quickly to find new representatives?" Ismail asked.

She threatened to withdraw from the race if the issue was not resolved before five pm. "I will not run if there is no judiciary oversight and no representatives watching the boxes," she said.

UPDATE: By late afternoon, authorities at two different police stations sorted out their issues and assured Gameela that there was no problem and voting lists had not been changed. She held her press conference - late - and confirmed that she would be running in tomorrow's elections.

In other news, it has just been discovered that there is another polling station in Qasr el-Nil, which no one knew about. Who is supposed to vote there is still unclear. 

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