Egypt is gearing up for a parliamentary election this Sunday. But controversy threatens to overshadow the process.
As the politicians beam down from their campaign posters in the final few days, critics say that in reality, voting will be neither free nor fair.
They point to the small number of permits given to international observer groups and NGOs as evidence.
Secretary General of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, Hafez abou Saada, said he believed the government would manipulate the outcome:
“They will be preparing the results as they want. And they will choose the candidates for the ruling party and also will choose the candidates from the opposition.”
The Muslim Brotherhood controls around a fifth of seats and forms the only credible threat to Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. But many of its members have been arrested or banned, making it impossible for them to run, even as independents.
The government insists Egyptian civil society organisations will ensure transparency.