The third round of elections for the Egyptian Assembly of the People has taken place on January 3rd/4th, 2012. Citizens from the last nine governorates were called to elect their representatives. As part of a project supported by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the European Union, Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies (AITAS) has been sending international observers to monitor the regular execution of the electoral process. Together with other four international observers, I monitored the electoral process in the Governorate of South Sinai.
The region is not highly populated and villages are quite distant from each other. We visited some of them, starting from Tur, the capital. Only five schools were hosting elections here, but we were allowed to access just three of them. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed and voting operations proceeded smoothly, without chaos or confusion, in contradiction with what I witnessed in the first and second round, respectively in the governorates of Luxor and Sharqiya.
Among the smaller villages, Abu Zenima and Abu Rdees were those selected by the group. While in the former we could not enter the perimeter of the only polling station, in the latter, judges and security personnel were extremely cordial. As for Tur, voters quietly lined up to access the schools in both the villages.
Turnout was quite high in the first day, with around seventy percent of the voters. The second day the group visited the two polling stations in Sharm el Sheikh, which were even more organized than those in the capital Tur.
An high presence of armed forces securing polling stations has been a common feature of each city visited by the group, but no tensions were registered.
The final counting, held in the Youth Sport Centre of Tur, started regularly around 9 pm of the second electoral day, after two hours from the closure of polling stations. Again, a better organization, compared to my previous two experiences in Luxor and Sharqiya, has to be underlined. As a personal comment, I would say that the abovementioned better organization was not due only to the tiny number of voters, but instead to the more proven system as well as to the greater confidence acquired by authorized personnel (judges, employees and security forces).