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Egypt Should Respect Election Integrity, Free Peaceful Protesters


Washington, DC – April 8, 2008Freedom House calls on the Egyptian government to conduct free and transparent municipal elections that allow Egyptian citizens to freely express their opinions without facing retribution.

Tuesday’s elections come after two days of unrest in the industrial city of Mahalla el-Kobra, where workers and residents are protesting low pay and the rising cost of living. The government arrested dozens of bloggers and political activists Sunday to foil a national strike to support the workers. At least two people were killed and hundreds were injured in clashes between security forces and protesters.

“The Egyptian government should respect citizens’ rights to protest peacefully and advocate for positive change in their daily lives,” said Thomas O. Melia, deputy executive director of Freedom House. “Freedom House urges the government to release the more than 150 people arrested during these protests.”

Opposition groups are boycotting the local elections and urging Egyptian citizens not to vote after the government blocked thousands of prospective opposition candidates from registering. The ruling National Democratic Party is expected to win about 90 percent of the seats, with a majority of the party’s candidates running unopposed.

“Election integrity has already been severely marred by denying opposition candidates the right to register,” said Richard Eisendorf, senior program manager for the Middle East at Freedom House. “To increase transparency, domestic and international observers should be given unfettered access to polling stations in order to monitor voting and counting procedures.”

Egypt is ranked Not Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, as well as in the 2007 Freedom of the Press.

For more information on Egypt, visit:
Freedom in the World 2007: Egypt
Freedom of the Press 2007:  Egypt

Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in Egypt since 1972.


Source: Freedom House www.freedomhouse.org  


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