Last updated: 19 May, 2014

EU says observers will monitor Egypt poll after all

The European Union said Monday it will observe next week’s presidential election in Egypt after authorities allowed in communications equipment, two days after announcing the mission had been scrapped.

The EU, which had accepted an invitation from the military-installed authorities to monitor the May 26-27 election, had said on Saturday it would be unable to do its job after Egyptian customs held up the equipment.

“The European Union observer mission is able to continue (its mission). However, it will have to make adjustments,” Mario David, the head of the EU observer mission, told reporters in Cairo.

A team of 45 observers was already in Cairo and would soon deploy across the country, said the EU parliamentarian from Portugal.

David said he had already met the two candidates — frontrunner Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, and leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi.

“EU election observer missions do not legitimise elections or validate their results,” said David, refusing to comment on the poll which comes after a brutal crackdown on Morsi supporters.

Amnesty International says more than 1,400 people have been killed in the crackdown.

More than 15,000 have been arrested, with hundreds sentenced to death or prison terms in speedy mass trials.