European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday expressed her pleasure that the EU is sending an electoral observation mission for the country’s 2014 presidential elections.
Ashton, in an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, said that she met presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during her recent visit to Egypt.
However, she didn’t meet with any of the other presidential candidates – leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi and former lawyer Mortada Mansour – due to “logistical reasons,” she said.
“But I did spend some hours with El-Sisi and talked with him,” she added.
Ashton also said that the EU wants the elections to “herald the beginning of the next phase of life in Egypt.”
However, the EU foreign policy chief said that she expressed the EU’s growing concern over the current situation in Egypt during her meeting with El-Sisi and Foreign Minsiter Nabil Fahmy.
Most notably, she focused on the recent ruling by a Minya court to sentence over 500 people to death for the August killing of a police officer, as well as the ongoing detainment of journalists and other activists.
Egypt’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place on 26-27 May.
The final and official list of candidates will be announced on 2 May.
The current interim president, Adly Mansour, was the head of the constitutional court before the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi was removed from the presidency on 3 July 2013, following mass protests demanding early presidential elections.
Source : Ahram online