CAIRO — Former President Jimmy Carter said Saturday that monitors noted violations during Egypt's presidential elections but that the vote was generally acceptable and the irregularities won't impact the final results.
The Atlanta-based Carter Center had 102 monitors at polling centers across Egypt for the landmark vote — the first since longtime leader Hosni Mubarak's ouster last year in a mass uprising. Preliminary results showed a tight race at the top between the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohammed Morsi, and Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq. The top two finishers will advance to the June 16-17 runoff.
Carter said his group was not able to monitor the entire process because authorities only granted his mission's observers permits a week before the race. The Carter Center said in a statement that the observers were not able to witness the aggregation of the ballots, which "severely undermines the overall transparency of the election results."
The third place finisher, Hamdeen Sabahi, has demanded a recount, citing violations that he has yet to disclose.
Carter said the violations — such as a lack of privacy for voters and the observers' lack of access to the final vote counting — won't affect the ultimate results.
"I don't think the mistakes and errors and improprieties that we have witnessed in the last few days will have a negative impact on the runoff," he said. However, he stressed that his center is only able to make a "limited" judgment on the elections because of the limits on their mission.
He said he believed the limits were in place because the election commission's decisions are final and cannot be challenged.