EU declines to send observers to Egypt presidential polls
Egyptian expats are now voting for one of two presidential candidates, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abdel Fattahl al-Sisi
The European Union said Saturday it would not send observers to Egypt for the country's May 26-27 presidential election, as certain conditions necessary to do the job have not been met.
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the bloc had begun to deploy a mission in the second half of April, but standard EU observation rules "include a number of specific requirements that need to be in place for the election observers to be able to perform their duties."
"Despite our best efforts, these requirements have not been met and the timely deployment of the EOM is no longer possible," the spokesman said in a statement.
Giving details of the issue, a European source said the observers were meant to be deployed throughout Egypt, but "it proved impossible to have the telecommunication equipment and medical kits essential to ensure the security and safety of observers released on time".
"It is now too late for the long term observers to conduct a meaningful observation," said the source.
As a result, the European Union would send a team that would have a "more limited nature and scope of elections' observation, restricted only to Cairo".
"We still count on the full support of the Egyptian authorities to facilitate the work of the Election Assessment Team in the fulfillment of its mission and provide the necessary security," added the spokesman.
Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is tipped to win the poll easily.