PAM High-level delegation in Cairo mission to observe election process

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean has fielded a high-level electoral observation mission to Cairo, to monitor the second phase of voting for the Egyptian Parliamentary elections held on 21 and 22 November 2015. 
H.E. Judge Ayman Abbas, Head of the High Elections Committee, welcomed the PAM delegation at the beginning of its mission. H.E. Abbas expressed his appreciation to PAM for its participation, together with several regional and international organisation, in monitoring elections for the House of Representatives of Egypt. During the meeting, Judge Abbas highlighted the stages the political and democratic transition period in Egypt is going through. He emphasized the fact that this is the third and final stage in completing the democratic process following the Presidential elections and the Referendum on the new Egyptian Constitution. 
The PAM delegation also met H.E. Judge Omar Marawan, Deputy Head and Spokesperson of the High Elections Committee. He briefed the delegation on the way the elections were conducted, the electoral law, the number of electoral committees, the number of candidates, the main political parties and coalitions participating, the requirements needed for candidature, the monitoring of the elections by judges and international observers, among other aspects. He also highlighted the importance the new Constitution is giving to the Egyptian women, which is reflected in the quota allocated to them. The same level of attention was also afforded to all different sectors in Egypt whether religious (Copts), social (people with special needs), professional (peasants and labours).
The elections of the Egyptians abroad has been also discussed and the PAM delegation visited the control room at the HQ of the High Elections Committee assigned to monitor – live -  by closed video circuit - the election in various Egyptian Embassies worldwide. 
The PAM delegation visited several polling stations in various areas of Cairo, where it observed that the process was conducted very smoothly with tight monitoring and security measures. 
More meetings were held at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. H.E. Amb. Ashraf Elmoafi, Assistant Minister for Parliamentary Affairs thanked PAM for sharing with the Egyptian such an important event, and also showed his great appreciation for PAM’s invitations to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to attend PAM events.  
With regards to the elections, Amb. Elmoafi said that the indications show that the new parliament will not be dominated by one political party, which is considered as a  good sign to enrich the democratic process in Egypt. The PAM’s delegation expressed its wish to have the new Egyptian Parliament participating at the upcoming PAM Plenary Session in Tirana, as has always been the case with the previous parliaments.
The PAM parliamentarians also met H.E. Amb. Hamdy Loza, Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for the electoral process. During this meeting, Mediterranean affairs were closely discussed. The threat of terrorism facing the region and the need to have a common position were highlighted. PAM’s role in counter terrorism initiatives and the joint efforts with the UN, the EU and the National Parliaments in dealing with this threat and the issue of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) were also discussed. 
Amb. Loza said that specific importance should be given by PAM and the international community to support the new political parties in the southern Mediterranean. In his opinion, supporting these parties is the only way to eliminate the secular/religious confrontation effecting the whole region, which is opening the gate for extremism and terrorism. 
The PAM delegation concluded its round of high level bilateral meetings with H.E. General Refaat Komsan, Election Affairs Advisor to the Prime Minister of Egypt.//
issued on 30.11.2015
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