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4 rights groups complain irregularities in Egypt's referendum

Sunday, 20 March 2011 - 1:37pm IST | Place: Cairo | Agency: PTI
The groups said members of the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Salafists tried to influence voters during voting held for the constitutional amendments.

Egypt's ruling military junta sponsored referendum today came in for criticism by four human rights groups, who filed complaints with the higher judicial committee alleging some irregularities during the voting.

The groups, including Observers without Borders, the New World Foundation for Development and Human Rights, said members of the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Salafists tried to influence voters during voting held for the constitutional amendments.

Even officials at polling stations attempted to convince voters to vote "yes", they said.

They also alleged that there were no judges at polling stations in Naga Hamadi, Beheira and Mahla EL-Kobra.

Ballot papers ran out in several Cairo, Qaliobia, Helwan and Giza polling stations, a matter which forced authorities to print an additional 1.5 million papers without the committee's seal, said the groups.

They warned the judicial committee - supervising the referendum on constitutional amendments that the irregularities will affect the referendum's transparency to decide on a fixed tenure for the president and to appoint a deputy.

Major Gen Ismail Osman, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, hailed the referendum on constitutional amendments yesterday as historic.

Millions of Egyptians awaited in long queues to cast their ballots in the first vote after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Osman lauded cooperation among the army, police and executive bodies during the vote which was also hailed by US President Barack Obama.

The referendum would pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held by the year end.




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