At least 141 complaints were officially registered on the first day of the second phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, according to the High Elections Commission (HEC).
The violations were reported between 9 am and 2 pm across the 13 governorates where voting took place on Sunday.
Other media outlets claimed as many as 269 violations took place — 141 from 9 am to 2 pm, and another 128 from 2 pm to 9 pm.
Speaking at a televised press conference on Sunday, Judge Omar Marwan, the official HEC spokesperson explained that 93 complaints related to the delayed opening of polling stations. This was because replcement judges had to be sourced for six judges who fell ill, according to Marwan.
Other violations reportedly related to the posting or distribution of campaign materials directly outside polling stations, in violation of electoral regulations.
Three people were arrested for ballot-buying by collecting personal identification cards and distributing money for votes, according to Marwan, who added that they were referred to the prosecution.
Polls opened Sunday morning for the second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections in Cairo, Sinai, the East Delta and the Suez Canal area, where voters will cast their ballots for both list-based and individual seats.
Potential voters in the second round are estimated at over 28 million, with 2,877 individual candidates competing for 222 seats.
On Sunday morning, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was photographed by the state-owned Al-Ahram casting his vote for the first time in a polling station in Heliopolis. A military man for much of his life before being elected president, this was Sisi’s first vote in a parliamentary election. His wife Entessar also voted in Heliopolis early on Sunday, according to the independently owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
The privately owned Al-Watan newspaper also reported on other high-profile voters, showing former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb casting his ballot in a polling station in Maadi. The website reported passersby chanting for Mehleb, hailing him a “defender of the poor.” Mehleb served as prime minister until September this year, following mounting public criticism.
Mulitple polling stations witnessed delays. In Monufiya, reporters told Mada Masr that judges arrived late at 12 polling stations, despite being provided with transportation from their houses to the polls. Delays were also experienced at 35 polling stations in Kafr al-Sheikh, according to Al-Ahram, and in North Sinai, where rigorous security measures were taken in areas where a state battle against militants has been ongoing. Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that judges and ballot boxes in the peninsula are being transported by special forces.
Various violations have also been reported, such as guided group voting in a district in Monufiya, as well as campaigning through organizing marches near polling stations supporting certain candidates, also in Monufiya. In Daqahlia, Mada Masr’s correspondent witnessed campaigning attempts in certain districts, with major supporters writing down candidate numbers and distributing them to voters.
In Mansoura, vote-buying was reported, with children accompanying voters inside polling stations in order to ensure they selected particular candidates, before coming out to confirm votes to the candidate’s supporters, in exchange for a sum of money.
In the first stage of elections, the state-aligned For the Love of Egypt list won all 60 seats for the list system, while the majority of individual seats were won by independent candidates, followed by candidates from the Free Egyptians Party and the Nation’s Future Party, which is part of For the Love of Egypt.