Despite fears of the second wave of the Corona virus, and despite government and security control over the candidate lists for the House of Representatives elections scheduled for next week, Egyptian villages and cities are crowding out during election conferences, as if there is a real competition or parliament able to monitor the authorities and hold them accountable, as the opponents say.
According to the National Elections Commission, the House of Representatives elections will be held on October 24 and 25, to compete for 568 seats spread over 143 electoral districts for individual seats and 4 districts for lists.
Despite the tendency of some to campaign for elections on social media, in order to maintain social distancing and adhere to precautionary measures for fear of the spread of the Corona virus; However, many public events also appeared, held by candidates, whether on the individual seats or belonging to the electoral lists, controlled by the National Future Party, which opponents describe as the political arm of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
These mass conferences come in violation of the regulations of the Supreme Elections Authority, which prohibited mass meetings as a step in facing the Corona pandemic.
Suleiman Abdullah, a resident of Mansoura Governorate (north of Cairo), says that some of these conferences witness the wearing of masks by some. But the majority remains without it, and the organizers neglect the social distancing between the seated people. This has resulted in the accumulation of large numbers of citizens beside the candidates.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Suleiman considered that the state of silence on the candidates’ propaganda violations, which began some time ago, represents a kind of apparent collusion of the authorities responsible for implementing and enforcing the law on violators and those who abstain from applying the precautionary measures.
The leniency in applying the precautionary measures was also mentioned by the Egyptian citizen Adel (a graduate of a social service institute, who preferred not to mention his full name), who said that what provoked a state of condemnation in the street was the excessive interest in precautionary measures in places only, while the candidates for Parliament are neglected Which has started since the Senate elections last month.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Adel adds, “Mosques are closed immediately after prayers under the pretext of Corona, while candidates’ conferences are immune to infection with the Coronavirus, which indicates that the primary purpose is to gain power regardless of the citizen’s interest.”
The Law Enforcement Paradox
In turn, Muhammad Ashour, a legal expert and lawyer at the State Council, confirms that there are deterrent punitive decisions for violators of the precautionary measures in facing the Coronavirus. However, it was not applied to the mass conferences held by the candidates, explaining that the penalties for violating the instructions amounted to imprisonment and a fine not exceeding 4 thousand pounds, whether for not wearing a mask or mass meetings without social distancing.
He pointed to other decisions set by the Supreme Elections Committee, which amount to disqualification of the candidate if he does not comply with them, especially since non-compliance means violating the Prime Minister’s decision regarding measures to combat the Coronavirus during the month of election campaigning, explaining that the Election Commission announced the cancellation of any candidate, whatever he was, and his referral To the Public Prosecution if proven violating the controls.
The legal expert added, “Unfortunately, this did not happen in the face of violations, under the pretext of preserving the state and its stability and access to voters.”
He continued, “There is randomness in applying the penalties, so we find that fines are applied to specific groups such as drivers, while it would have been more beneficial to apply them as well to candidates in the House of Representatives who violate the decisions, especially in light of the official warnings from the Ministry of Health about the second wave of the Corona virus.”
Fears of the second wave
In a related context, the consultant of the liver and digestive system, Muhammad Ali, denounced the preventive instructions being stripped of the wall by the candidates, considering that the laxity in the precautionary measures is a matter of concern, especially as the Corona epidemic continues to harvest lives daily.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, the Egyptian doctor indicates that despite the decrease in the rates of infection with the Coronavirus in Egypt during the last period according to government data, the situation needs severe caution, especially in light of global fears of the outbreak of the second wave of the epidemic, which has already started with the advent of Autumn is in Europe, and it has resulted in a total and almost total closure in many regions there.
He added that the injury of one person may lead to a tragedy in light of mixing with dozens of other citizens, which makes crowded public places one of the causes of the epidemic outbreak, which affects dozens of citizens, which has been repeated before on more than one occasion that has been monitored, such as the death of a groom with the Coronavirus After his family refused to postpone his wedding, and it became clear that he had transmitted the infection to 111 guests last June.